If you are old enough to drive a car, you probably have a full set of responsibilities that keeps you busy all day long. Whether you are a parent, a grandparent, an employee, a student, or some combination thereof, adulting is a full-time job. Those non-recurring administrative tasks tend to be the ones that even the most organized people keep putting off, whether it is getting your tires rotated, renewing your driver’s license, or sending thank you notes to the guests who attended your wedding. Those tasks are not even especially unpleasant.
A stressful event that doubles the size of your to-do list can throw your peaceful life into chaos. A minor car accident can be a major hassle. Simply feeling overwhelmed by all the phone calls and paperwork associated with getting your car fixed and reporting the accident to your insurance company is enough to stop a lot of people from getting the money to which they are entitled after a collision. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by contacting a Norcross car accident lawyer after an accident, even if you are sure that you do not need to file a lawsuit.
How Serious are My Injuries?
Medical bills usually account for the largest percentage of accident-related financial losses in car accident cases in which clients hire lawyers. Even if your injuries are minor enough that you are able to return to work a few days after the accident, you might still be responsible for thousands of dollars of medical bills, not counting the amount that your health insurance pays. Even though the No Surprises Act has reduced the amount that providers can charge patients for treatment rendered on an emergency basis, injuries resulting from a car accident can throw your finances into disarray.
Protecting yourself from financial ruin after a car accident begins long before the medical bills start arriving in the mail. The best way to protect yourself is to go to an emergency room and have the doctor examine you immediately after the accident. This way, the details of the accident will be fresh in your mind when you describe it to the ER doctor and triage nurse, and any visible superficial injuries resulting from the accident will still be visible. Superficial injuries are not the cause of huge medical bills, but they are clear evidence of which parts of your body made contact with non-seat parts of the vehicle during the collision.
An even more important reason to get a doctor’s examination after the accident is the doctor’s report in your medical records. From a legal perspective, this report is a professional’s statement indicating that your injuries are consistent with the injuries one might get in a car accident. The report also indicates when the accident happened. This is important because some car accident injuries do not start to show symptoms until the next day. Whiplash injury can cause chronic neck and back pain, but you might not know right after the accident that you are injured. Likewise, concussion symptoms such as headaches, sensitivity to light, vision problems, and difficulty with concentration or memory might not develop until hours or days after the accident. Not only does getting prompt treatment afford you an easier recovery, but it also makes it harder for the other driver to argue that your symptoms are due to another aspect of your medical history rather than to the collision.
Who is at Fault for the Accident?
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. Therefore, the more relevant question is, “What percentage of the fault for the accident is mine?” You can still file a car accident lawsuit unless your share of fault for the accident is 50% or more. Immediately after the accident, do not worry about trying to argue that the accident was not your fault or mostly not your fault; that part comes later. Instead, you should take as many pictures as possible of your vehicle damage and the scene of the accident.
Is the Insurance Enough to Pay for My Medical Bills and Vehicle Repairs?
If your injuries are minor, the at-fault driver’s insurance policy might be enough to cover all the medical and vehicle repair expenses you incurred as a result of the accident. Keep in mind, though, that if the insurance companies determine that you are partially at fault for the accident, then the amount of money the at-fault driver’s insurance will agree to pay you will be less. If your injuries are severe and the at-fault driver carries only the minimum amount of liability insurance that Georgia law requires, then that driver’s insurance may not be enough to cover the full cost of your accident-related medical bills, even if you do not bear any fault for the accident. Georgia law does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, but some drivers choose to buy it. If you have PIP insurance, it will pay for your accident-related medical bills up to the amount of your policy limit, even if you are entirely or mostly at fault for the accident.
What Should I Say to the Insurance Company About the Accident?
If the accident was serious enough that you sustained injuries that required medical treatment, you should say as little as possible to the insurance company about the accident. Insurance companies are in the business of finding excuses to pay you as little as possible. They take recorded statements in an attempt to catch you contradicting yourself or saying things that indicate that you bear more fault for the accident or that your injuries are not very serious or are not accident-related. Instead, you should have your car accident lawyer talk to the insurance company on your behalf.
Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer?
It is never too soon to consult a car accident lawyer. Personal injury lawyers do more than just suing people. If the insurance company offers you an inadequate settlement, your lawyer can help you negotiate for a better one. You can even have your lawyer represent you in communications with the insurance company even before you get an initial settlement offer.
Contact 770 Good Law About Car Accident Cases
You probably do not need to file a lawsuit to get the money you need after a car accident, but you do need a car accident lawyer. Contact 770 Good Law, the Law Office of H. Q. Alex Nguyen and Associates, LLC, in Riverdale, Georgia, to discuss your case.