As much as you believe you were the victim in your car accident, very rarely is one person 100% at fault. Even if the other driver was primarily at fault for the crash, you may have played a small part. If the other driver has a feeling you may sue, they will try to beat you to the punch. They can run out and hire an Atlanta car accident lawyer who will take their case.
Our firm is made up of seasoned Georgia injury attorneys who can tell if a case is worth pursuing from the start. We can tell you if a counterclaim could come up and how likely or unlikely the possibility is. In this article, we explore what happens if the defendant files a counterclaim.
The Defendant May Believe That You Were at Fault
There is always the small chance that the other driver truly thinks you were at fault. At the time of any car crash, things usually happen pretty quickly. It can be hard to figure out what happened. As much as you think the other driver caused the crash, they may feel the same way about you.
If they run to meet with an Atlanta car accident lawyer, they may sue before you get a chance to. The courts will assume that the other driver was the victim in the crash. Why else would they sue? Your Georgia injury attorney will have to convince the court that you were the actual victim. This means they’ll have to prove that the other driver was negligent.
To prove negligence, your Atlanta car accident lawyer must demonstrate the following four things.
Duty of Care
Proving the defendant owed you a duty of care won’t be hard to do. All drivers owe a certain duty of care to other motorists. For example, it’s against the law to text while you drive. The defendant had a duty to obey this law as well as all other traffic laws.
Breach of Duty of Care
Your Georgia injury attorney must also prove that the other driver breached this duty of care. The easiest way to do this is by proving that the defendant didn’t act the way a reasonable person would have given the circumstances. To prove breach of duty, you can show that the defendant failed to use their brakes when they saw a car coming down the wrong side of the road.
You must demonstrate that you suffered some sort of injury. Usually, this is proven by submitting a copy of your medical records. These records will document any physical injury you suffered.
Finally, you need to prove that your injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. If you were going to die regardless of the defendant’s behavior, then you can’t blame them for your injuries. However, odds are, you wouldn’t have been hurt had the other driver not been negligent.
Once your Atlanta car accident lawyer proves negligence, they’ll move on to proving your damages.
They May Just Be Trying to Negotiate a Better Settlement
Sometimes, the defendant’s lawyer files a counterclaim against you just to push you to consider a settlement. They should know that you and your attorney are going to want to negotiate a settlement anyway.
However, they may feel that, by claiming that you caused the crash, they’ll be able to neutralize the situation somehow. They figure that your Georgia injury attorneys is hoping to settle your case for as much as possible. They know that most car accident lawyers prefer to settle their cases rather than take them to trial.
Trials are expensive and can eat up a big chunk of your Atlanta car accident lawyer’s time. This means that you’re probably going to want to consider a settlement. Whether the defendant filed a counterclaim to push for settlement discussions or because they truly thought you were at fault doesn’t matter. What matters is that your Atlanta car accident lawyer is able to negotiate a settlement of your claim that is fair to you.
Hopefully, Your Georgia Injury Attorney Will Be Able to Settle Your Case
The reason you hire a Georgia injury attorney is so that you can get compensated for your injuries. Had the insurance company paid your claim, you wouldn’t need to take legal action. However, there’s always the possibility that the other driver has the same idea. Perhaps the defendant believes that you caused the crash.
Or they may figure that, if they sue you too, you’ll be more likely to settle for a lower amount. Your Atlanta car accident lawyer will try to use this to your advantage. If the defendant files a counterclaim, it means they are probably open to a settlement. Rather than get to the point where a trial is needed, it makes more sense for the two parties to settle the case voluntarily.
We suggest that you reach out to our office as soon as possible after the crash. Whether it seems fair or not, the first person to file suit in a car accident is usually the one with the advantage. The way the court sees it, whoever sues first must be more frustrated of the two. Somebody who caused a car accident wouldn’t want to bring attention to themselves, right? The truth is that the other driver may sue simply because they want to make it seem like you were in the wrong.
We offer all new clients a free, initial consultation. We would like to hear your story and review the evidence before we make any decisions about whether we want to represent you. If it looks like the other driver was at fault, it may be worth pursuing.
You don’t have to pay anything upfront since our Georgia injury attorneys are paid on a contingency fee. You have to remember that the other driver will have an attorney working on their side and you need to have someone in your corner as well.