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Navigating the Stages of a Personal Injury Case (Part A)

When you have sustained injuries in a car accident due to the actions of a drunk driver, you may be entitled to initiate a personal injury case in order to obtain compensation for your many financial and emotional losses. Because navigating the stages of a personal injury case can be complicated, especially to a person with no legal training, obtaining the services of a qualified Atlanta car accident attorney is strongly recommended. 

Meeting with an Attorney 

The first step in the personal injury case process is meeting with an attorney. Selecting the right Atlanta car accident attorney can be difficult, so asking family members, friends, and colleagues for referrals is a great first step. If you cannot find referrals, contact the Georgia State Bar to find attorneys who practice personal injury law and who are in good standing. 

When you first meet with an attorney, he or she will ask for information regarding your case. Be prepared to bring a copy of the police report and a list of expenses associated with your car accident, such as: 

  • medical bills;
  • doctor appointments;
  • car repairs; and
  • lost wages due to time off of work. 

Initiating the Personal Injury Case 

Once your attorney reviews your information, he or she can initiate the personal injury case process. The first step is to complete a complaint (also known as a petition) against the responsible party. This legal document outlines your case and provides evidence to back up your claim. 

Next, a summons will be delivered to the responsible party (now known as the defendant). This document contains information from your complaint and provides a deadline by which the defendant should submit an answer or attempt to get the case dismissed. 

If the defendant decides to answer your complaint, he or she will address each section of the complaint by giving one of three responses: denied, admitted, or insufficient knowledge to admit or deny. He or she also may include potential defenses detailing why he or she is not at fault for the car accident.

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Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia