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Car accidents happen in an instant; compensation -- not so much

You were in your car doing what you normally do -- going to work, taking your children to school, running errands -- just going about your day. In what seemed like an instant, you went from being fine to seriously hurt. Another driver hit your car, and there was nothing you could do about it.

Georgia residents who suffer injuries in car accidents may have the right to pursue compensation for their losses. It all comes down to the details of the event and if negligence contributed to it.

Quick settlement

After the insurance provider of the responsible party receives word of the accident, an investigative team will review the details of the event. If they deem it appropriate, they will offer a fairly quick settlement to you -- usually just enough to cover very basic expenses. They do this in hopes of closing the case without doing too much damage to the company's bottom line.

At this point, you may have already paid quite a bit out of pocket to take care of yourself. You may think that taking the settlement and moving forward is just the best thing, even if it doesn't cover all your losses. Before just saying yes, it is okay to take more time and ask legal counsel to review the settlement in order to determine if it really is the best you can do.

Settlement negotiations

If you opt to decline the settlement offer, this is something that you usually have to do in writing. With your letter of rejection, you may submit demands for better settlement terms. This usually opens the doors to negotiations. You may or may not reach agreeable terms this way. If you do not, going to court may be the only way to seek full compensation for your losses — and that is okay.

Hurry up and wait

Filing civil claims against drivers responsible for car accidents and their insurance companies can feel like you have to hurry up just to wait. You must file such claims within a certain time frame or you might lose your right to seek relief. After filing claims, getting through the investigative process, negotiations and, finally, litigation -- if it gets that far -- it may feel like you're fighting a never-ending battle.

The good news is, there is an end in sight. The process of seeking maximum relief for all the damages you sustained in that instant may take time, but it will not last forever, and it will certainly feel worth the wait if your efforts prove successful.

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