Mistakes to Avoid After a Gwinnett County Car Accident
The moments after a motor vehicle accident are stressful. You might be worried about whether anyone is hurt, concerned about the damage to your car, anxious about getting where you are going on time. It might be hard to keep your wits about you.
However, the way you respond after a crash could make a big difference to your negotiating position later, when you are trying to collect damages for your losses. Preserve all your rights and help yourself by trying not to make the common mistakes to avoid after a Gwinnett County car accident.
Delaying Necessary Actions
In the immediate aftermath of a wreck, there is a lot to organize. However, be sure not to delay certain critical tasks.
Do Not Decline or Delay Medical Treatment
People who are in car accidents and do not appear to have suffered significant injury often will decline to be transported in an ambulance, and might delay seeking medical treatment. This is a big mistake.
An injured person need not accept transport to a hospital in an ambulance if they do not feel it necessary, but they should seek medical treatment immediately. A medical professional could identify injuries that might not yet be presenting symptoms and prevent the victim from aggravating the injury.
Immediate medical treatment is important for another reason. If someone delays treatment and later alleges they suffered an injury in the crash, the other driver’s representatives could argue that the injury is unrelated. They also might assert that the claimant is faking the injury. Presenting medical records generated immediately after the incident could be key to connecting the injury to the crash.
Do Not Wait to Notify Insurer
Auto insurers require their customers to notify them of any accident that might lead to a claim within a reasonable time. The policy will define the amount of time that is reasonable, but most insurers expect their customers to be in touch within no more than a few days. Delay could result in the company denying coverage to an insured driver, making them personally liable for any damages.
In a Georgia vehicle accident, the at-fault party pays the damages of anyone who suffered injuries or property damage. When more than one driver bears some responsibility the insurance adjusters, and the courts if a lawsuit follows, will allocate fault between the parties. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated §51-12-33 says that any party who bears at least 50 percent of the fault may not collect damages from other parties.
It is crucial for drivers to refrain from saying anything that might be interpreted as an admission of liability after an accident. Drivers should count on their words being used against them later and be very careful about what they say.
Interacting with Other Involved Drivers and Witnesses
It is always appropriate to approach other involved vehicles to ask if everyone is ok. Call for help if someone is hurt. However, do not make remarks about how the accident happened or respond in kind if others make such remarks. Do not apologize for the accident.
Communicating With Police
If the police come to the scene, a driver should be cooperative and answer their questions without admitting to wrongdoing. If it is not possible to answer their questions without admitting to fault or breaking the law, call an attorney and insist that the attorney be present before answering questions.
Talking With Insurance Companies
A driver’s own insurer and the other drivers’ insurers might wish to take a recorded statement. Drivers should not do so before talking to an attorney. Drivers who are asked to give a recorded statement should politely state that they wish to consult their lawyer first.
Negotiating Without a Lawyer
Claimants are sometimes tempted to accept an early offer to bring the matter to a conclusion and relieve themselves of the anxiety of hardball negotiations. Claimants who have legal representation are not subject to these stressors.
An experienced car accident lawyer could document all the claimant’s damages and establish an evidential case that the claimant’s fault was not the primary cause of the accident. They could handle negotiations and insist on an equitable settlement. Aware that the claimant’s legal advocate might bring a lawsuit, adjusters might be more inclined to make a reasonable offer.
Rely on a Seasoned Attorney To Handle Your Car Accident Claim
You will have enough to worry about after a car wreck without stressing over negotiations with insurance companies. A knowledgeable advocate could oversee the negotiating process while simultaneously preparing a strong case to bring to court, if necessary.
Georgia gives claimants only two years to file a lawsuit, so it is important to begin working with a Gwinnett County car accident lawyer soon after the crash. Contact the office to learn more about the mistakes to avoid after a Gwinnett County car accident.