There are few things more trauamtic and scary than an auto accident. Knowing which steps to take to protect your rights after you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident can be overwhelming. The insurance company will not look after your interests and will try to settle your claim for less than its fair value. You need lawyers that you can trust to protect your rights and to maximize your recovery.
5 helpful tips for victims of an auto accident:
1. Call the Police – After an auto accident, you should immediately call to report the accident to law enforcement. Usually police officer will analyze the evidence, speak with both drivers, and prepare a police report. Be sure to give a complete story of your account to the police officer and do not omit any important facts, including whether you are experiencing any pain or injuries. Keep in mind that if you call 911 to report the auto accident, your call will be recorded. Many times the insurance company or its lawyers will often request a copy of the 911 tapes to see if you said anything about how the auto accident happened or if you were injured.
2. Seek Immediate Medical Treatment – If you are injured in the auto accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. If you are severely injured and cannot drive yourself to the hospital ask the 911 operator or investigating police officer to send an ambulance. Clients who postpone medical treatment for several weeks with the thought they will get better on their own often do not and may take longer to heal. In addition, the insurance company will look at the delay in treatment with suspicion and use it as an excuse to undervalue your claim. You should also make sure to tell your doctor or the nurse about all of your injuries (even minor ones). Again, if you do not mention one of your injuries because you think it is too minor, the insurance company will likely refuse to honor a claim for that injury.
3. Take Photographs at the Scene – The expression,”A picture is worth a thousand words” is also true for auto accident claims. Be sure to take photos of the damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle. You may also want to take photos of the scene of the accident, especially if there is something unusual that happened that may have contributed to the wreck. For example, in one recent case we handled, a driver of a commercial vehicle who had a flashing red light struck our client’s oncoming vehicle. Photographs taken at the scene proved that our client had a flashing yellow light and the right of way.
4. Keep Medical Bills – In addition to your medical bills, Georgia law allows you to recover money for time that you miss from work. If you are completely unable to work due to your injuries, you should keep track of the number of days you miss. If you are still able to continue to work but miss time due to your injuries or doctor’s appointments, keep track of the time you missed as well as any pay records or pay stubs showing your reduced income.
5. Carefully Review Paperwork from the Insurance Company – Exercise extreme caution when it comes to an early settlement offer from the insurance company. The insurance company could try and settle your case before you have finished treatment or you know the extent of your injuries. Keep in mind that insurance companies will not look after your rights. Their job is to save money, not to fairly compensate auto accident victims. Before you sign anything, you should consult with an attorney to fully understand your rights.
If you or a family member have been injured in an auto accident, please call the attorneys at Glass & Robson at (404) 751-4702 for a free consultation.