As any car accident victim would know, a car crash is a traumatic experience. While dealing with injuries and the stress of the occurrence, it is easy to forget that you have rights. Unfortunately, it’s also possible that you are unaware of the rights you have and therefore fall prey to the tactics of insurance companies out to protect their interests.
In this article, our Atlanta auto accident lawyers provide insight into the rights of car accident victims. If you are a car accident victim, our attorneys will protect your rights and ensure you do not shortchange yourself. We also offer excellent legal advice and representation.
Basic Legal Rights Every Car Accident Victim Should Know
The fault system practiced in Georgia ensures that auto accident victims get compensated for physical injury and property damage. However, victims who don’t know their rights might get less compensation than they deserve or none. Thus, it is imperative that you know your legal rights and exercise them.
Below are some of the legal rights a car accident victim has.
Right to Withhold Statements From Insurance Companies
The first thing to know is that insurance companies are not your friend. Following a car accident, the fault party’s insurance carrier will call you for a recorded statement. You should politely decline this request as you are not obligated to do so.
Even if the insurance company tells you that the refusal to give a recorded statement will delay the processing of your claim, don’t give in. At this point, it would be best to get an auto accident lawyer involved. If you must give any statement, do so under the guidance of your attorney. Always have in mind that insurance companies will use what you say against you and try to put some of the blame on you.
Right to Receive Information About the Accident
As a car accident victim, you have the right to receive information about the accident. Information here is a copy of the police report and witness’s statement. It also includes any photographic and video evidence from the crash site.
You can request a copy from the investigating authority. In Atlanta, this could be either the Atlanta Police Department or the Georgia State Patrol. If any of these agencies refuse you access to the information, get an auto accident attorney involved. You should not relinquish this right, as you need evidence to prove the fault driver’s liability.
Right to Seek Compensatory Damages
As any car accident victim would know, injuries from a crash are more than broken bones, bruises, and lacerations. Traffic collisions result in physical, emotional, and mental trauma. They significantly impact your quality of life, and you may suffer post-traumatic stress disorder from it.
Therefore, when an accident results from someone’s negligence, you have the right to seek damages. The latter usually covers medical bills, disability, loss of income and loss of capacity to earn, and property damage. Compensation also includes your pain and suffering and all emotional distress resulting from the accident.
Right to Legal Representation
Every car accident victim has the right to get legal representation should they choose to. It’s no secret that most people prefer to pursue an injury claim without legal counsel. But those people often end up getting their rights abused or doing things outside the law.
For these reasons, it is prudent to get legal representation. A lawyer will not only look out for your interests, but they will also ensure that you don’t get cheated by insurance providers. If the case gets to a point where you need to file a lawsuit, an attorney would commence the action and represent you at trial.
Are There Rights a Car Accident Victim Do Not Have?
The direct answer is yes. You do not have the right not to report a vehicle accident. Under Georgia law, those involved in traffic collisions must file a report with the local law enforcement agency. Thus, you cannot pretend the accident did not happen.
Another right you don’t have is pressuring witnesses. While you can ask for their contact information, witnesses reserve the right to choose whether to testify or not. Furthermore, you cannot entice witnesses to testify in your favor.
Contact an Atlanta Auto Accident Attorney Today!
You start winning your compensation claim when you recognize and protect your rights. At The Weinstein Firm, we have a team of legal experts who understand victims’ rights. We will not only protect your interest, but we’ll also get you the maximum compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation.