Common Questions After an Auto Accident
What Should I do Following an Accident?
- Get to a safe location
- If anyone is injured or there is more than $500 in damages, contact law enforcement
- If possible help anyone who is injured; Georgia does have a Good Samaritan law to protect you
- Exchange names, license information, insurance information with other drivers involved in accident
Additionally, you should consider the following:
- Take photos of the scene including traffic signs or lights, damages to all vehicles involved in the accident as well as photos of the surrounding area.
- Get the names and contact information for any witnesses at the scene. This may be important later if you file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Note the time of day, weather conditions as well as any anomalies in traffic lights; for example, were they flashing instead of working.
Regardless of whether you believe you are injured or not, you should seek medical attention. Remember, after an accident, you will likely have an adrenaline surge which could mask any potential injuries.
How Much Detail Should I Provide Police?
While you are encouraged to answer all questions posed by law enforcement officers, avoid volunteering information. Never offer an opinion as to what caused the accident, or who was at fault for the accident. Generally speaking, this is the time you are more likely to say something which could be used against you later if a lawsuit is filed.
When Should I Notify The Insurance Companies?
You should contact your own insurance company as quickly as possible after a car accident. However, you are under no obligation to contact the other driver's insurance company, nor should you do so as this is the other driver's responsibility. Make sure you are aware of your obligations with your own insurance company; failure to report the accident in a timely manner could put your coverage at risk.
What Happens if The Other Driver's Insurance Company Calls Me?
Should you be contacted by an insurance adjuster from the other driver's insurer, you should refer them to your attorney. If you have not hired an attorney when you get the call, simply tell them you will get back to them with the name of your attorney. Keep in mind, the adjuster's job is to ensure they save the insurance company money. Do not give them a statement without speaking with a car accident attorney.
When Should I Contact an Attorney?
Typically, you should contact an attorney immediately after an accident, once you are safe and have been seen by a medical professional. This step is important as it can help protect your rights should you file a personal injury lawsuit for injuries you suffered after a car accident.
Why Should I Call an Attorney Immediately?
Georgia, like all other states, has statutes of limitations. This means there is a time limit to file a lawsuit. If you do not contact an attorney as quickly as possible, you could forfeit your rights. In addition to protecting your right to file a lawsuit, an attorney can answer questions when you are contacted by the other driver's insurance company. This is important since it any questions you answer can be turned around and used against you if the case does go to court.
What Will it Cost to Discuss My Case?
A consultation with Riah is free. In fact, if the attorney decides you have a valid lawsuit, in most cases, they will take the case on a contingency basis. This means if the attorney is unable to secure a settlement on your behalf, you will not owe a fee.
Does Filing a Lawsuit Mean I Have to go to Court?
Not always; a car accident attorney will work with you to determine what level of compensation you may be entitled to collect. This generally means taking into account money you lost being unable to work, damages to your vehicle, medical costs and other damages. Should we be able to get the insurance company to agree to this amount, your case may be settled before going to court.
How Do I Know What My Case Is Worth?
Before damages can be determined, your car accident attorney must establish some basic facts. Some of these will include the extent of your injuries, time lost from work and whether or not the accident resulted in permanent injury or scarring. No two car accidents are the same; talk to your car accident attorney to find out what they believe your case may be worth.
What If The Other Driver Denies Liability?
Because Georgia is considered a comparative fault state, it is fairly common for insurance companies to claim their insured was not at fault or not entirely at fault. This is because being able to prove victims were partially responsible for their injuries means they will pay less in claims. Should you receive a denial of your claim because the insurance company is denying fault, contact your car accident attorney immediately. They will work with you to determine the next steps to take.
What Information Should I Provide Insurance Companies?
Under no circumstances should you make any statement or provide any medical records to the other driver's insurance company. Oftentimes, insurers will ask you to make a recorded statement; have them contact your attorney for information. We are trained to deal with these types of requests.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
Should there be any parts that were ripped from your vehicle during the accident, make sure you ask for an investigator to pick up the parts. These may include tires, mechanical parts, etc. In some cases, you may have multiple suits; one against the responsible driver and one against the vehicle manufacturer if there was a defective part. You should feel free to discuss any concerns or questions with your attorney. In addition to protecting your rights, a car accident attorney in Georgia is also there to address any of these concerns or questions.