Car Accidents

Fact: Each year, more than 4.5 million people are hurt in car crashes and require medical treatment.

Behind each of those crashes, of course, are people—individuals trying to drive to work, pick up kids from school, go out with friends, take a vacation or just run their errands. A car crash—even one that doesn’t result in death or life-changing injuries—disrupts life. It means missing shifts, replacing gymnastics drop-offs with specialist visits and juggling the seemingly endless administrative tasks it takes to make insurance claims, handle car repairs, pay the medical expenses, and keep the household running in the meantime.

That’s where we come in. At Litner + Deganian, we understand how overwhelming it can feel after a car crash and how hard it is to focus on your recovery. We work to achieve the best outcomes for our clients, gathering evidence, handling negotiations and always sharing our honest opinion. We’ve worked on both sides here—representing insurance companies in our early careers—and we know how they think.

We don’t want life to be defined by injury. We want to help you move past it and move forward.

During a free consultation, we can talk through your case, discuss your options and get you started on putting your auto accident behind you.

Have you been involved in an auto accident? Here's what to do:

For most folks, adrenaline kicks in during a car crash, creating feelings of panic and shock and making it hard to focus. Unfortunately, this moment requires a lot from us: the ability to stay safe, stay calm and, ideally, gather information about the crash. After a car crash, you should:

  • Call 911 and stay on the scene. A personal injury case relies on proving another party was at-fault in the crash—that their negligence led to the accident. You’ll need a police report to help establish this and to make it clear you were not at fault. Avoiding talking about blame or fault with the other driver is recommended until police officers arrive at the scene.
  • Accept medical treatment. If you’re hurt, prioritize your care. Your health and the safety of others is always more important than photographs or witness names. When you call 911, ask the dispatcher to send medical help. If you don’t require medical treatment, be sure to still get checked out after the crash. Sometimes pain or dizziness show up later, or your own adrenaline initially masks your symptoms. Insurance companies will spring on any delays in treatment—arguing you weren’t as badly hurt as you claim, or that you weren’t hurt in the crash at all.
  • Pull over somewhere safe. If you’re able to do so, pull out of traffic to a shoulder or side street. Turn off your vehicle, turn on your hazards and place any flares or signals from your safety kit around the car. If you can, wait some distance from the car and roadside. Never stand between two parked vehicles. People have been seriously injured or killed when another car rear-ends a disabled vehicle, pinning them between cars.
  • Talk to the responding officer about the crash. When the responding officer arrives, answer questions and make sure you receive information on how you’ll get the eventual police report. You should note the officer’s name and badge number as well. It’s best to keep conversations with the other driver to a minimum. Check on the medical condition the other vehicle and exchange information (including name, address, phone number, license number, tag number and insurance policy info), don’t cast blame or accept it.
  •  Collect evidence at the scene. While you never want to risk your safety, provoke the other driver or interfere with the accident report, it helps to take pictures of the crash. This can include close-ups of car damage, the accident scene as a whole and factors that may have contributed to the crash, such as a faulty taillight. Also talk to witnesses, collecting their names and contact info.
  • Call for a tow. If you’re hurt, the police may arrange for your vehicle to be towed. If not, it’s helpful to have a name of a reputable tow company on-hand, as well as your preferred mechanic. Sometimes you’ll be better off having your vehicle taken directly to the shop.
  • Write down what happened, but keep it private. When you’re home, write down everything that happened, or even draw a sketch of the accident. What feels fresh now might be less clear months later in your personal injury claim.
  • Notify your insurance. Let your insurance company know you were involved in a crash. If the fault driver’s insurance company contacts you, be polite but don’t share details until you’ve spoken to an attorney. A car accident lawyer can handle these conversations for you.
  • Contact a car accident lawyer. Even if you’re not severely injured, it’s smart to talk to an attorney. Medical bills can quickly pile up, and it helps to have representation from the start.

At Litner + Deganian, our goal is advocacy—we want you to understand your situation and feel empowered as you move forward with your car accident claim.
Young girl high-fiving man in car.

Is a law firm necessary for a car accident?

Often, people are surprised to learn that the majority of car accidents don’t make it all the way to the courts. It’s understandable then to wonder why, if most auto accidents are settled before a lawsuit, you really need a personal injury attorney in the first place.

Here’s the thing, though: Insurance companies have a business to run, and they always have to keep profits in mind. When their insured driver is clearly at fault, this might mean settling claims quickly for less money than they’re worth. When the car accident claim is more ambiguous or complex, the insurance company might put up a fight—denying fault or arguing the injuries were exaggerated.

Unfortunately, insurance companies will also throw up obstacles to your financial compensation. They may ask for a recorded statement, ignore your communications or otherwise try to wear you down. When they learn a personal injury attorney is involved, this usually stops. It may not be fair, but the threat of legal action tends to motivate insurance companies to action.

Handling your own claim is also a major time commitment. And when you’ve been hurt, it’s hard to focus on your recovery and other responsibilities while you’re working on your case. In order to receive fair financial compensation from the insurance companies, it’s smart to hire an experienced car accident lawyer.

Look for top-rated attorneys online. Talk to your family, friends and coworkers—some might even share names after you mention you’ve been hurt in a car crash. Once you have a few possibilities, ask how long the attorneys at the firm have been in practice. While every personal injury case is different, you learn a lot after working hundreds of them. Also find out how many personal injury cases the attorney handles each year. Some firms cover multiple practice areas. You’ll want to be sure you’re hiring an expert in car accident cases.

Dave Rohwedder

Our process

While the Georgia statute of limitations to file a car accident lawsuit is usually two years (certain exceptions can make it shorter), it’s best to get started much earlier.

Once we begin working with a client on a car crash case, we:

  • Gather information about the incident, reviewing the accident report, photos of the scene, dashcam footage and witness reports
  •  Work with investigation teams if necessary
  • Review medical records and talk through any insurance red flags, like preexisting injuries or conditions
  • Assess the value of your case, drawing on our deep understanding of car crash injuries and accidents similar to yours, then estimating intangible losses with pain and suffering
  • Negotiate with the insurance company so you receive the maximum compensation for your case’s value
  • Take your case to court if necessary

What makes us different?

At Litner + Deganian, a lot of our business comes from referrals: clients who know how we work and trust their friends with us. Why?

We nerd out over every detail of your case. We keep things clear and realistic when it comes to your settlement. And, if you ask us, there are never enough of your questions to go around…so keep them coming. Most importantly: We’ll wait until you collect money before we do.

We're talking millions

With an extensive track record of successful car accident cases behind us, there isn’t a case we’re not fully equipped to handle. Here’s a quick glance at some of our latest:

  • $4 million settlement for a client who suffered a broken femur
  • $2.95 million settlement for a client who required spinal surgery after an automobile accident
  • $885,000 settlement for a client who underwent shoulder surgery post-accident
  • $200,000 settlement for a client who needed neck surgery after a pickup truck turned too quickly at an intersection

Additional reading