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Georgia Personal Injury Blog

Friday, July 29, 2016

Car Accident Victims Should Do These 5 Things Immediately

The majority of car accidents in Georgia are caused by distracted driving, and everyone on our roads is at heightened risk of being injured by an accident caused by a preoccupied driver.

What does this mean to you?  It’s more important than ever to drive defensively, and know what to do if you’re involved in a car accident.   If you are involved in an accident and need medical attention, here are five ways to protect yourself from further damage:

First, get as much information from the scene as possible, such as pictures of the vehicles, the scene location, names of witnesses and the other driver’s insurance information.     

Second, contact an attorney who focuses on personal injury claims. Most personal injury attorneys will provide a consultation at no charge and can provide valuable advice on legal rights and next steps.  But if you delay calling an attorney, it could result in losing certain rights, costing you thousands of dollars and ultimately making a bad situation even worse.  Do NOT accept a cash offer from the other driver’s insurance company without talking to a lawyer first, and definitely not before knowing the true nature and extent of any injuries. The insurance adjuster is trying to save as much money as possible for the insurance company and will probably give you a low ball figure on the value of your claim. Oftentimes they will try to get you to settle before you have finished treatment, which would be a terrible mistake. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and lost quality of life.   If an insurance adjuster asks you for a recorded statement, immediately say “no thanks” and refer the adjuster to your attorney (if you have one), or tell them you want to talk to an attorney first (if you don’t have one). This statement may be used against you if the case proceeds to litigation.

Third, contact your own insurance company ASAP, even if it is the other driver’s fault.  It’s more than likely that you have a mandatory reporting requirement in your insurance contract, and if you need the insurance company to step in and help pay for things, they may very well have an exclusion if you don’t notify them of the accident soon enough. 

Fourth, keep records of all medical expenses related to the accident. Use health insurance if you have it, and if a provider says they don’t take health insurance in accident injury cases, call your attorney. If your health insurance provider pays some or all of your medical costs, they may have a right to reimbursement (called “subrogation”), but it will still save you money to go through your health insurance as opposed to self pay or payment through a lien. The health insurance company may also claim they have a right to subrogation, when they really don’t.  It takes a skilled professional to negotiate these issues to put the most money in your pocket as possible.

Finally, as for vehicle damage, take photographs of the damage done to your vehicle immediately (or as soon as possible) after the accident. It’s also important to keep good records of any estimates or expenses related to your car damage, including the cost of a rental car while your car is repaired.  When negotiating with the insurance company for damage to your vehicle, it’s also key to understand that you are entitled to the diminished value of your car, in addition to the repair costs.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident that resulted in an injury, the attorneys at injuryattorneysouth.com will be happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your options.

 

Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.


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Smith Welch Webb & White serve clients throughout the south metro Atlanta area including but not limited to McDonough, Stockbridge, DeKalb County, Clayton County, Henry County, Jonesboro, Spalding County, Butts County, and Lamar County.



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