Georgia Laws on Injury Settlements
If you are injured by another driver’s negligence in a car accident in the State of Georgia, your claim will be governed by state laws that determine the legal standards as they relate to negligence and compensation. If this is the difficult situation you find yourself in, a better understanding of the legalities can help, and having an experienced car accident attorney from Atlanta in your corner is well advised.
What the Law Says
One of the primary laws that guide Georgia car accident claims is Georgia Code Section 9-11-67.1 (OCGA 9-11-67.1), and in 2021, a newly enacted version of this code section was implemented. And there are several important takeaways – that could affect your claim arising out of a car accident that occurred after July 1, 2021 – to explore.
Limiting the Terms that Can be Included in Your Demand
Georgia’s Code includes five material terms that must be included in every pre-suit settlement offer made by insurance companies, including:
- The time frame in which the offer must be accepted, which cannot be less than 30 days from the receipt of an offer
- The amount of payment
- The parties who will be released in the settlement
- The type of release (as applicable)
- The claims released by the settlement
Release here means that the matter is settled in relation to the issue at hand. While claimants in the past were not barred from including additional requirements, the code’s latest version no longer allows this practice.
The Definition of a Counteroffer
Prior to the code shift in 2021, claimants’ pre-suit demands could require that insurance companies meet each term included, and any deviation on the part of the insurance company would render its response a counteroffer, which amounts to a rejection of the demand. Now, if your demand includes a release (stating that you will release your legal rights in the matter in exchange for a specific amount of compensation), the insurance company’s own release, which may include contradictory terms, will not be considered a counteroffer. Even if your demand does not include a release, the insurance company can forward its own, and it is unlikely to be considered a counteroffer.
Georgia’s revised code allows claimants like you additional time to serve the insurance company with a time-limited demand. In the past, such demands had to be made prior to filing a lawsuit against the company, but the new statutory framework allows such demands to be made at any time prior to the insurance company filing an answer to the lawsuit you’ve filed.
The bottom line is that Georgia’s revised code makes an already challenging legal matter somewhat more so, and working with a dedicated car accident attorney from the outset is in your best interest.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today
The practiced Atlanta car accident attorneys at Spaulding Injury Law have an impressive track record of helping clients like you achieve advantageous claim outcomes, and we’re here for you too. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 770-744-0890 today.