Every Atlanta auto accident attorney knows that traffic collisions can be extremely traumatizing. It’s not uncommon to get confused after a car accident, not knowing what to do. So many questions will run through your mind, and you definitely need answers.
The lawyers at The Weinstein Firm have handled hundreds of car accident cases and have become greatly familiar with questions usually asked after an accident. The list below highlights some of these questions and detailed answers. However, it is important to note that this article does not rule out a one-on-one consultation with a lawyer, as each case is unique.
Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney Discusses Frequently Asked Questions After a Traffic Accident
Below, we discuss nine frequently asked questions after a car crash.
What Do I Do Immediately After the Accident?
Stay calm and check to ensure that all parties are fine. Even in cases where it appears that all parties are okay, make sure that you call 911. Not all injuries are physical.
After you’ve reached out for medical help, call the police. If you’re strong enough, endeavor to get the contact information of all parties and witnesses. Try also to get pictures of your injuries and the vehicles involved to document the damage properly. Finally, you must not admit liability; consult a lawyer and let them determine the at-fault party.
Should I Seek Medical Attention Even When I’m Not Injured?
One common mistake car accident victims make is refusing medical help when there are no obvious injuries. They assume everything is great because there is no obvious pain, lacerations, or blood. This could be a fatal mistake.
True, you might be uninjured. However, there are times when the body’s fight-or-flight hormone hides the pain and injuries. The body releases this hormone after traumatic events like a car accident.
There are also cases of internal injuries where you don’t feel any pain externally. This is why it is vital to get medical attention after an accident. There is also the issue of your medical report, which you may require in your claims process.
Who Is At Fault?
With Georgia being an at-fault state, you must prove that the other driver is the at-fault party. If you’re sure about the other party’s fault, then it won’t be difficult to prove to the insurance adjusters as the police report, CCTV footage, and witness statements will corroborate your version of events.
However, in some cases, the insurance adjusters may still not agree and want to deny your claim. This is where an experienced Atlanta auto accident attorney comes in. Your attorney will thoroughly investigate to prove that you were not at fault.
What About the Claims Process?
After getting medical attention, you’ll want to file a police report and an insurance claim with your insurer and the at-fault party’s insurer as quickly as possible. The claims process is the initial step toward compensation for damages, medical expenses, pain & suffering, lost wages, etc., resulting from the accident.
The type of claim you file depends on who the responsible party was, the severity of the accident, and the extent of available insurance coverage. If you were the at-fault party, you would file a first-party claim with your auto insurance company. If the other party is responsible, you file a claim with their auto insurer.
What if I Am Partially at Fault?
In some instances, car accident victims contributed to the accident to some degree. That is, they were partially at fault. In such cases, you may wonder if you can secure any compensation. Georgia operates under a modified comparative negligence system.
Under this law, an auto accident victim can recover compensation in the aftermath of an accident so long as they are less than 50% responsible for the incident that caused the injury. However, the total compensation you are awarded will be affected by the percentage of your fault.
What if the At-Fault Party Is Uninsured?
Unfortunately, you might only be able to recover damages if the at-fault party has substantial personal assets. This is why it’s crucial to have underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage.
If you have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, you can seek compensation from your insurer. Georgia law mandates all drivers to have liability coverage (insurance makes reparations for damages caused by the insured driver). Unfortunately, some drivers still fail to get it.
The benefits of uninsured motorist coverage are limited to the amount of your personal liability coverage and do not include property damage. To file an uninsured motorist claim, you must prove the other driver’s fault and that the motorist was not insured.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Claim in Atlanta?
The Statute of Limitations defines how long you have to file a personal injury claim. In Georgia, car accident victims generally have two years from the day of the accident to file their claim, after which they lose legal grounds.
However, there are exceptions. For example, if the accident involved a minor, the Statute of Limitations begins automatically when they turn 18. Also, this deadline may be shortened if the accident involves a government official.
Contact an Atlanta auto accident attorney as quickly as possible. They will analyze your case and inform you about options so you can know what to do before the deadline comes knocking.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Although you’re legally within your rights to represent yourself, hiring an experienced car accident lawyer is highly advisable. A good attorney has handled hundreds of similar cases and is well-versed in personal injury law.
Once hired, the lawyer swings into action; they will conduct a thorough investigation and gather all relevant evidence. They also negotiate with the insurance adjusters and ensure you get the maximum compensation. Your lawyer will also represent you in court if the matter escalates.
The car accident is just the beginning of a long road of medical attention, recovery, insurance claims, etc. The aftermath of the accident can be overwhelming; therefore, get legal representation.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
According to Georgia law, auto accident victims can receive two types of damages; economic damages (medical expenses, ambulance bills, utility bills, therapy bills, etc.) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.). However, in some cases, the victim may also be awarded punitive damages (it is issued by the court to punish the at-fault party).
Have More Questions? Contact Our Atlanta Auto Accident Attorneys at The Weinstein Firm
If you or a loved one was involved in a car accident and have more questions, do not hesitate to contact us at The Weinstein Firm for a no-cost consultation. One of the best injury attorneys in Atlanta will attend to you.