Even if you do everything right, there is a risk that you could end up involved in a serious traffic accident.
According to the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, there were 58,581 crashes reported in Fulton County in 2017. Altogether, these collisions resulted in at least 17,947 injuries.
If you were involved in an accident, you need to pay the maximum available financial settlement to pay for your car repairs, rental car costs, medical bills, any medical expenses and bills, your insurance coverage, pay any medical expenses and bills, and support for your family.
At Georgia Auto Law, our Atlanta, GA law firm, personal injury car accident lawyers want everyone to have car accident lawyers know how to protect their rights in car accidents.
In this article, we highlight the top five ways to get a full and fair compensation settlement after a car crash in Georgia.
How to maximize your auto accident settlement in Georgia
1. Get Medical Treatment & Attend Follow-Up Appointments
Following an accident, emergency medical treatment needs come first.
If police report that you or anyone else at the accident scene because of the wreck suffered injuries or a severe injury — call 911 right away. Of course, emergency situations are not the only ones that have injuries that require a doctor.
Keep in mind that you will not be able to effectively a personal injury claim or lawyer pursue a personal injury claim unless you have received a comprehensive medical evaluation and sought follow-up care.
This is an important part of maximizing your settlement after an a car accident claim: you need medical documentation that validates your injuries. When medical records are missing, insurance companies will use that against you in an effort to get more money, higher settlement, reduce a settlement offer or even to deny a claim outright.
Do not give them the opportunity — make sure you see a doctor, attend follow-up appointments, and keep your medical records well-organized.
2. Secure Relevant Evidence & Be Ready to Build a Case
Similar to most other U.S. states, motor vehicle accident claims in Georgia are based personal or bodily injury claims not on fault.
To hold a defendant — and their all car insurance company) — legally liable for an all car accident claims, you must establish negligence for other party’s actions.
In an auto accident claim, relevant evidence can come in a wide range of different forms, including:
- The police report;
- Video footage;
- Eyewitness statements;
- Victim statements;
- Electronic records; and
- Expert analysis.
The more evidence you have in your possession, the easier you can build a compelling and successful legal claim gather evidence of other losses that proves liability.
Some forms of evidence will degrade in the hours or days immediately after the crash. You must act fast.
If you need help obtaining, securing, or understanding evidence, contact a Georgia car accident attorney immediately.
3. Avoid Making any Statements to the Insurance Company
If you were injured in a car accident that was your fault or an accident scene caused by the fault of a negligent driver, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Of course, you can also reach a serious car accident settlement amount amount outside of the litigation. Under Georgia law (GA Vehicle Code § 40-9-35), parties to a traffic collision have the authority to seek compensation reach a car accident settlement amount amount in a written settlement. Most auto- accident settlement claims are eventually settled outside of the courtroom — only a small percentage of car accident settlement cases are ever litigated.
One of the consequences of this type of system is that large insurance companies have extensive experience handling the whole car accident settlement and negotiation process. They have developed an array of strategies on how to maximize car accident settlement to protect their own profits and how to maximize car accident settlement to reduce the value of settlements.
As an individual, it is not in your best interests to give a statement to the insurance company. They will try to twist your words and use them against you. Following a serious crash, you should handle all correspondence with the insurance company through an attorney.
4. Stay Patient — Do Not Try to Rush the Settlement
Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33), car accident injury claims are subject to a strict two-year statute of limitations.
A person injured in a crash must file a claim within two years of car accident cases the date of the last car accident claim settlement offer the car accident claims settlement or their case will be dismissed. That being said, you should never wait to take action. In the hours and days following a crash, you need to protect your health, well-being, and rights. As was mentioned, you and other driver should seek professional medical attention and secure relevant evidence.
At the same time, you should not rush through settlement negotiations.
It is entirely normal and understandable to see the pain and suffering car accident victims want to reach a larger and fair settlement, fair compensation or quick and fair settlement based on. Most people want to get their pain and suffering car accident behind them and move forward with their life.
Unfortunately, the insurance companies know this and will take advantage. In many cases, insurers offer plaintiffs a quick, unfair settlement offer in an effort to resolve the case for far less money than it the property damage is worth. They may offer you fair amount settlement offers of as little as 10% of the true value of property damage in your case.
Be patient — insurance companies are not going to lead with their best and final offer.
5. Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
You do not have to go through pain and suffering through the auto accident claims process alone.
A car accident attorney will protect your rights and expertly negotiate with your car accident lawyer, your insurance company, adjusters, other car accident and personal injury lawyer lawyers and the insurance company.
When helping you with your personal injury law case, personal injury lawyers should:
- Conduct a free review of your case;
- Explain your rights and options;
- Answer your questions;
- Organize your medical documents and records;
- Obtain the evidence needed to prove liability;
- Build a strong, persuasive legal claim; and
- Handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company.
With a skilled lawyer by your side, the insurance company will take your claim for property damage far more seriously.
We know how to hold the big insurance companies accountable, and we ensure that insurance companies offer our clients the full and fair settlement, and personal injury protection and compensation that they deserve.
If they fail to do so, we are always ready to take our clients’ cases to court.
Get Help With Your Claim
At Georgia Auto Law, we fight tirelessly to protect the legal rights and financial interests of injured car accident victims.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a car crash in Georgia, our legal team will help you recover every penny of compensation and medical bills that you rightfully deserve.
Q1: What are the first steps to take following a car accident in Georgia?
A1: The first steps include ensuring immediate medical needs are addressed. You should call 911 if anyone is severely injured. Even without obvious injuries, it is important to seek a comprehensive medical evaluation and attend follow-up appointments. This aids in the medical bills and documenting your condition for potential personal injury claims.
Q2: Why is gathering and securing relevant evidence critical after a car accident?
A2: Collecting evidence is important to build a strong legal claim and to establish negligence. This can include police reports, photographs, video footage, eyewitness statements, victim statements, electronic records, and expert analysis. This evidence supports your claim and maximizes your potential settlement.
Q3: What should I avoid doing with insurance companies after the accident?
A3: It is recommended not to give a statement to the insurance company as they may use your words against you. It is in your best interest to handle all correspondence with the insurance company through an attorney.
Q4: How does Georgia law affect the timeline for settling my car accident claim?
A4: Georgia law stipulates a strict two-year statute of limitations maximum to seek compensation for car accident injury claims. While you should act promptly in gathering evidence and seeking medical attention, you should not rush the settlement process. It’s common for insurance companies to take advantage of victims who seek quick settlements, often offering less than the claim’s true value.
Q5: Why should I consider hiring an experienced car accident lawyer after an accident?
A5: A skilled car accident attorney can protect your rights, negotiate with your insurance company and adjusters, organize your medical records, obtain necessary evidence, build a compelling legal claim, and handle settlement negotiations. They can ensure you get the full compensation you deserve and are prepared to take your case to court if necessary.
Q6: What is the role of medical records in a car accident claim?
A6: Medical records serve as essential documentation to validate your injuries. Lack of medical documentation can be used against you by insurance companies to reduce or deny your settlement. Attending all medical appointments and keeping your records organized helps ensure a comprehensive portrayal of your injury.
Q7: What does it mean that Georgia operates under a ‘fault’ system for auto accident claims?
A7: Under Georgia’s fault-based system, the party responsible for causing the accident (or their insurance company) is liable for covering the damages resulting from the accident. This requires establishing negligence on the part of the other driver involved in the accident.
Q8: How does the settlement negotiation process typically unfold?
A8: The negotiation process involves you or your attorney presenting your claim and evidence to the insurance company, who will then make an offer. Your attorney can counter this offer if it doesn’t fully cover your damages. This back-and-forth can continue until a fair agreement is reached.
Q9: Why is patience important during the settlement process?
A9: While it’s natural to want to quickly resolve the claim and move on, rushing the process may lead to accepting a lower settlement. Insurers often try to take advantage of this by offering quick, but low-value settlements. Being patient can yield a more favorable and larger settlement.
Q10: What types of compensation can a victim recover from a car accident in Georgia?
A10: The types of compensation a victim can recover include medical expenses, car repair costs, rental car costs, lost wages due to inability to work, and pain and suffering. An experienced attorney can help maximize these benefits in your settlement.