Have you or a loved one been involved in a car accident in Decatur? Call our Decatur car accident attorneys at 404-975-1775.
Some go the extra mile, we go to the finish…
Attorney Minkah Merritt recovers $725,000 for car accident client. The insurance company initially denied the claim and said their coverage didn’t apply. After a few months of posturing, the insurance company decided it was in their best interest to back down and pay. We have the resources and the experience to handle any size claim. And as always, we put our clients’ interest first! If you have case against “big insurance”, call us.
Finding an experienced Decatur Injury and Accident Attorney can be difficult with constant lawyer advertising on the radio, billboards, and television. At Merritt & Merritt we have practiced law in Decatur, Ga. and surrounding cities for over 50 years.
From car accidents involving distracted drivers to drunk drivers to 18-wheeler truck accidents, our Decatur accident attorneys have the experience needed to get you the highest settlement.
Our office is conveniently located in downtown Decatur at 1 West Court Square, Suite 750.
We Can Handle any Car or Truck Accident
Every car accident law firm has experience handling car accidents and 18 wheeler truck collisions. What makes us different is we have had proven results for over 50 years with significant results in state and federal courts. Each car accident attorney in our firm has successfully represented injury victims and passengers in almost every situation imaginable. From drunk drivers, head-on collisions, Uber and Lyft, rear-end collisions, 18 wheeler wrecks, bicycle accidents, hit and runs, pedestrian accidents, even uninsured and under-insured motor vehicle accident claims. Our Decatur accident attorneys are here to assist you. Phone us today at 404-975-1775.
The Decatur car accident lawyers at Merritt & Merritt Law Firm are leading the way in technology by using video, professional photography, animation, computer graphics, and utilizing expert accident reconstructionists. The purpose for using advanced technology is to get our clients’ maximum compensation along with successful outcomes for auto, car, and motor vehicle accident cases.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident in Decatur, call us at 404-975-1775 or complete the free case review form. Contact a Decatur car accident attorney at Merritt & Merritt Law Firm today. Our law firm will fight to get you every penny you deserve and ensure your rights are protected. We also won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit if a fair settlement offer is not made. Your case will be tried quickly in court if we are hired as your attorneys.
Experience and Reputation Count
Many large car accident law firms that specialize in personal injury cases look at the owner/driver’s declaration page or insurance coverage and turn down severely injured accident victims because there isn’t a lot of insurance coverage available. But what about the client? We are a client focused law firm. We handle small and large cases. Our priority has always been: “help as many people as possible”. At Merritt & Merritt Law Firm, we welcome inquiries from serious injury and wrongful death cases that other car accident lawyers in Decatur have looked at and said “No”. In many cases throughout our history we have recovered more than half a million dollars from cases that other attorneys have turned down. We have recovered money from big insurance corporations, employers, and independent contractors.
Car Accident Negligence and Personal Claims in Decatur
To receive compensation in Georgia you cannot be the person that caused the accident. If you are the at-fault party, you are not entitled to any benefits. Every driver has a legal duty to drive with reasonable care and in a way that does not put others at risk. There is not a requirement that states the harm caused must be intentional. You can win in court by proving the other person was negligent. Negligence is defined as a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence. Here are a few examples of negligence: texting behind the wheel, driving while under the influence, failing to yield to the right of way, speeding, or disregarding a traffic signal.
The Burden of Proof
Car Crash victims must prove their claims by the greater weight of the evidence. In other words, they must prove their case by 51%. This is referred to as “by the preponderance of the evidence standard”. Therefore, when evaluating car accident cases, there are many factors you must look at: time, speed, and distance. One of the most important pieces of evidence is independent witness statements.
After a crash, our Decatur car accident attorneys will gather all relevant evidence needed to prove your case in court. All useful evidence will be preserved in order to maximize the full amount of compensation Georgia law permits.
Georgia is also a “comparative negligence” state. This simply means one or more drivers can be placed at fault. This legal defense which, if proven, can reduce car accident victim’s recovery at trial. Because of this legal doctrine and other tricky legal terms, you need an experienced attorney to walk you through the process. If hired to represent you, the Merritt & Merritt Law Firm will do everything possible to get you the results you desire.
Common Types of Injuries
Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries from minor whiplash to broken bones. Other common injuries include fractures, contusions, sprains, and abrasions. However, the most common injuries occur to the neck and back.
Sometimes injuries may require surgery. Most accidents that require surgery are high speed collisions, wrecks involving pedestrians, motorcycle accidents, traumatic brain injury and drunk driving cases.
Compensation for Accident Victims
If you did not cause the accident you were in, you may be entitled to compensation. The compensation an accident victim receives is commonly referred to as damages. Damages in a car accident include money damages for pain and suffering and past and future medical bills.
Money damages may also be awarded for:
- Medical Bills
- Loss Wages
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Loss of Support or Replacement Services
- Scaring and Disfigurement
- Out of Pocket Expenses
Our Decatur car accident attorneys are here to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.
Major Causes of Car Accidents
There are many reasons for car wrecks, but in most cases, driver negligence is the number one cause. What adds to these accidents is the fact that many of these careless driving habits are preventable. The majority of crashes are the result of:
- Distracted. An overwhelming number of car and truck accidents are caused by talking on a cellphone or texting. Other dangerous distractions include eating and drinking, setting up the GPS, changing the volume on the radio, and talking to passengers.
- DUI. Driving under the influence of alcohol reduces your reaction time, vision, and ability to judge distance.
- Prescriptions. Many prescription and illegal drugs impair capabilities in the same ways or if not worse than alcohol.
- Speeding. Ongoing statistics frequently point to excessive speed as the primary cause of fatal accidents involving male drivers.
- Sleepy. Studies show that getting behind the wheel when a person is exhausted can be as dangerous as being DUI.
- Road Rage. Speeding, following too closely, and rapid lane changes are a few of the ways that aggressive drivers cause preventable accidents.
- Age. As we age our reaction time slows which can be a major factor in causing a accident.
- Teen Driver. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen death.
- Mechanical defects. If an accident occurred because a vehicle malfunctioned in some way—such as a sticking pedal, faulty brakes, or seat belt failure—the car dealer or manufacturer may be liable to the victims under product liability laws.
Statute of Limitation for Bodily Injury Claims
Car accident victims and certain family members must be aware that Georgia has strict limitations for all types of lawsuits including car accidents, wrongful death and personal injury claims. Failure to bring a lawsuit within the timeframe required by law will forever bar you from filing the lawsuit in the future.
In Georgia, any and all personal injury claims must be brought within 2 years from the time of the accident.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Our Decatur car accident attorney is often asked many different questions about car accidents and the claims process. Following are some of the most frequently asked as well as their answers.
What to do if you are Injured in a Car Accident?
First call 911 for help. If possible, take pictures and record audio at the accident scene. After speaking with the police officer, you need to seek immediate medical care from the nearest emergency room and follow up with your primary care physician. Be sure to follow your doctor’s treatment regimen.
How much does a Decatur Accident Attorney Cost?
At Merritt & Merritt, we understand that personal injury litigation can be costly and expensive, and that people injured in car accident or serious tractor trailer crashes often can’t afford the upfront legal costs and accident reconstructionist needed to protect their rights after a serious injury crash. So our Decatur accident lawyers make it very simple for our clients: you don’t pay unless we win. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee, so you only pay us if we recover monies for you. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. We do our best to take confusion out of the legal process and you will always be satisfied with our work guaranteed.
How are personal injury settlements taxed in Georgia?
Most people who collect a personal injury settlement in Georgia worry about the taxes they will have to pay for the compensation they receive. The good news is that under 26 USC §104, “the amount of any damages (other than punitive damages) received (whether by suit or agreement and whether as lump sums or as periodic payments) on account of physical injuries or physical sickness.” In other words, if the damages you receive are compensation for physical injuries or physical sickness, you will not be taxed on them.
There are some exceptions which are important to be aware of. First of all, the statute is referring to physical injuries and sickness, not emotional or psychological injuries. Also, in rare cases where punitive damages are awarded, they can be taxed. Finally, 26 USC §104 also states that “amounts attributable to (and not in excess of) deductions allowed under 213 (relating to medical, etc., expenses) for any prior taxable year” may be counted as income and therefore subject to being taxed.
Of course, this is just an overview of taxes and personal injury settlements, and it best to speak with our Decatur injury and car accident attorneys to find out more information regarding your particular case.
Is my case evaluation really free?
Many people want to know if their case evaluation is actually free or if there is some kind of catch. You can rest assured that the initial evaluation of a case is entirely free of charge. We see this as an opportunity for us to get to know a prospective client and for the client to get to know our firm. The free case evaluation allows us to understand what happened to you and if we feel you have a viable claim that will result in your receiving compensation. It also allows you to understand specifically the type of service we provide. Then, if we feel it is a good fit and you choose to allow us to represent you, we can move forward. At that time, we will discuss how we are paid.
How long after my accident do I have to file a claim?
Most causes of action, or claims, have a period of time during which the claim must be filed or it may be forever barred, meaning the injured party cannot seek recovery for their damages. For accidents to the person, Georgia Code § 9-3-33 states the injured party has two years after the right of action accrues to file their action. There are some limited exceptions to this rule, but it is always best to speak with a Decatur car accident attorney as soon as possible after the accident to get the ball rolling. Gathering evidence and evaluating your case takes time, and the sooner you have an attorney on board to help you, the better for your case.
How much will I need to pay a Decatur car accident attorney to help me with my car accident claim?
The good news is that our clients do not have to pay us anything up-front to represent them. When we agree to take a case it is because we feel the case is a winner and the injured party will be able to recover compensation. If we do not feel that a case will be successful, we will not agree to take it. One of the reasons for this is because we work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, we take all the risks associated with your case. If you recover compensation, we get paid. If you do not recover compensation, we do not get paid anything.
Most of our contingency fees range from 33%-40%. So if you were to receive $150,000 in your vehicle injury case, our fee would be somewhere between $49,500 and $60,000.
What do lawyers look for in a car accident?
When a Decatur car accident attorney from our firm meets with a potential client for the first time there are certain indicators that speak to whether or not this person will likely have a successful claim for compensation. One of the first matters to determine is who was at fault in the accident. Then, the attorney will need to determine the type and amount of insurance the at-fault party has.
While determining fault and insurance may seem like simple matters, they really are not. In many car accidents there can be multiple parties at fault and each party will likely have their own insurance policy or policies. An experienced Decatur car accident attorney will know how to interpret the information and situation to determine the best way to proceed.
Potential defendants in these types of accidents include:
- The other driver
- The manufacturer of any defective automobile parts
- The car maintenance provider
Often, a Decatur car accident attorney must conduct an investigation to determine fault in more complicated automobile accident cases.
What if I am partially at fault in the accident?
Many people involved in accidents worry about what will happen if it is determined they were partially at fault in the accident they were in. While states differ on how they handle this situation, Georgia is considered to be an at-fault state and the amount a party receives as compensation can be reduced by their percentage of fault. This means that if the party seeking compensation is found to be 30% at fault in the accident that caused their injuries, the amount they receive will be reduced by 30%. This is true unless the party seeking compensation is 50% or more responsible for the accident. If they are, they are not entitled to receive any damages. If you are confused about your degree of fault and how it could affect your potential recovery amount, it is best to speak with a Decatur car accident attorney.
In cases where fault clearly lies with one party, that party will not be able to seek compensation from other parties involved in the accident or their insurance companies. In cases like this, they will likely need to look at their own insurance policy to determine what they may be able to recover.
When should I hire a Decatur car accident attorney?
In our opinion, the sooner you hire an attorney to represent you after your accident, the better. There are various reasons for this. First of all, a lawyer will know how much your claim is worth and will be able to tell if the insurance company is giving you a low-ball offer. They will also be able to recognize when the insurance company is trying to take advantage of your naivete and not pay you the amount you are owed. If you are already involved in trying to recover from your accident, and you have any qualms or reservations regarding the way your case is proceeding, make an appointment to speak with a Decatur car accident attorney at Merritt & Merritt Law Firm. With a free case evaluation, you have nothing to lose.
What to look for when choosing a Decatur accident lawyer?
First, you want a Decatur truck accident lawyer with extensive experience handling tractor trailer crash cases. Second, you want an attorney who specializes and focuses only in this area of practice. Many times there are multiple layers of insurance coverage and only an experienced attorney would know how to access those coverages. Third, you want a law firm that has the resources to successfully handle big truck accident cases because they require a lot more money and time more so than other types of cases. Fourth, you want an attorney who practices in the city or state the accident occurred. Finally, always check for good reviews, looking for what former clients are saying, and how responsive is the law firm.
What to ask a Decatur accident lawyer?
Here’s what to ask your lawyer. From a financial point of view, you will want to know if the attorney charges a reasonable contingency fee. That way, you only pay if the lawyer wins your case. In terms of trucking litigation experience, you will want to ask whether the lawyer has courtroom experience involving your specific facts of your case. Be sure to ask about the settlements and verdicts that were obtained in those cases. In terms of specialized expertise and reputation, do attorneys all over Georgia and around the country refer these types of cases to your attorney? Finally, ask to see your lawyer’s client reviews.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney at Merritt & Merritt
Our approach is to sue first and negotiate later. We believe that lawsuits promote settlement discussions and they put insurance companies on notice that they need to take our client serious. In all of our cases, we work quickly to identify all responsible parties, comb through evidence, and explore all potential theories of legal liability. When needed, we also employ investigators to locate defendants and reconstructionists to recreate how the accident happened.
After an accident you may find yourself inundated with law firms and bill collectors calling. It’s also extremely common for insurance company adjusters to contact car accident victims to discuss the facts of the case and inquire about their injuries. They may even try to attain a recorded statement. Before speaking with an insurance company, we advise all accident victims to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers in Decatur first. Call us at 404-975-1775 or complete a free case review form.
Our Legal Team makes the Difference
We vigorously strive to provide our clients with the highest standard of legal services and with comprehensive counsel so that they can make informed decisions. Our clients are continuously updated on their cases and kept abreast in all stages of litigation. We give each and every client the opportunity to speak and meet with an attorney face to face to discuss their case. We still believe a firm handshake and a meeting is the best way to do business.
At Merritt & Merritt our Decatur Injury and Accident Attorneys we will fight for your rights and ensure justice is served. We understand that every legal matter deserves a considerable amount of attention and at Merritt & Merritt our Accident Attorneys are ready to navigate you through your situation. We seek to provide you with answers and peace of mind. Contact us so that we can lift the burden from your shoulders.
“Justice is what we stand for.”
If you have further questions or need to discuss a potential claim, contact us at 404-975-1775.
City of Decatur Police Department
420 W. Trinity Pl
Decatur, Georgia 30030
Dekalb Medical (Hospital)
2701 North Decatur Road
Decatur, Georgia 30033
Emory University Hospital
Address: 1364 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30322
Atlanta VA Medical Center
1670 Clairmont Road
Decatur, GA 30033
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Hospital
1405 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30322
Decatur Fire Department
230 E Trinity Pl
Decatur, GA 30030
Dekalb Fire Rescue
330 W Ponce de Leon Ave.
Decatur, GA 30030
Decatur Municipal Court
420 West Trinity Place
Decatur, GA 30030
Additional Georgia Car Accident and Wreck Information:
Georgia Accident Statistics
Georgia Speed Statistics
Georgia Motorcycle Statistics
Georgia Drunk Driving Statistics
Recent National Cases
Police Shooting of James Wilborn Jr.
Fox5 – Article Below
11Alive News – Article Below
If you have further questions or need to discuss a potential claim, contact us at 404-975-1775 or via our free case review form.