Have you or has someone close to you been hurt in a car accident near Sandy Springs, GA? If so, then there are two immediate questions that you need to answer. First, have you consulted with a car accident lawyer in Sandy Springs? Second, have you provided an auto insurance company with any sort of release or authorization form? In the best case, the answer to the latter is “No,” but before we get into that, let’s discuss question number one first.
Have You Consulted a Car Accident Lawyer in Sandy Springs, GA?
If you have been injured in a car wreck and have not spoken to a lawyer in Sandy Springs, GA, then we urge you to do so as soon as possible. You may think your case is too minor or straightforward to warrant talking to a car accident attorney in Sandy Springs. However, even in minor cases, car accident lawyers in Sandy Springs, GA will be able to help you understand the legal process of getting compensation for your injuries. If your case is, in fact, simple enough that you don’t need a car accident lawyer to help, we will tell you so from the beginning.
Most accident cases, however, will benefit from working with car accident lawyers in Sandy Springs, GA. By having legal representation in negotiations with insurance companies, you can be sure that you will not be taken advantage of concerning your settlement. We have found as car wreck lawyers in Sandy Springs that victims in auto accidents who do not work with an attorney tend to recover smaller settlements for similar injuries compared to those who do work with a car accident lawyer. Whichever you decide, at the very least, it is worth your time to at least speak to a Sandy Springs personal injury lawyer like the staff here at The Weinstein Firm.
Did You Sign any Authorization or Release for the Insurance Company?
The second important question is hopefully one to which you can answer “no.” In the period following an accident, when it becomes clear that you are going to be seeking compensation for your injuries, insurance companies will often contact the injured party in an attempt to get a statement and a release of medical records.
No matter what the insurance representative tells you, it is vital that you do not sign any kind of medical release or authorization form. This release will give the insurance company uninhibited access to your private medical records. Once it has permission, the insurance company will meticulously search your medical history, including records not at all related to your auto accident in Sandy Springs, for a similar injury. They do this in order to claim that the injuries you suffer now existed prior to the car accident. As car accident lawyers in Sandy Springs, we urge you to protect your privacy and always refuse to sign these documents.
If you already did sign a medical release, let a car wreck lawyer in Sandy Springs know right away so you can begin working on mounting a strong case for compensation.
Proving Fault in a Sandy Springs Car Accident
If you can prove that someone other than yourself is at fault for your car accident in Sandy Springs, then that person will be liable for any injuries or damages suffered as a result of the accident. A fault is shown with the help of a car accident lawyer in Sandy Springs by establishing negligence on the part of that person. Negligence is defined, legally, as action or lack of action which the person knows (or should reasonably know) results in placing others at risk. The general task of proving negligence for you and your car accident attorneys in Sandy Springs, GA involves establishing duty, breach of duty, and causation.
Establishing duty in a car accident case is relatively straightforward. Any driver on the road has the legal duty to ensure the safety of those around them. Car wreck lawyers can easily argue that being in a car on the road includes the duty of sharing that road safely with others.
Then, you and your car accident lawyer will need to show that the at-fault driver deviated from that duty. Classic examples of breach of duty include violations like speeding, failure to yield right-of-way, distracted or impaired driving, following too closely, and so on.
However, once a duty and the breach of that duty have been established, this is not enough to show negligence in your auto accident case. Your personal injury lawyer will need to show that the breach of duty directly caused your accident. This is called causation. Once this has been established, then you and your car accident attorney serving Sandy Springs, Georgia, will simply need to show that the compensation you are asking for is just and fair.
What if You are Partially at Fault for a Car Accident in Sandy Springs?
In some instances, the other driver’s lawyer will attempt to argue that you were partially at fault for the car accident. In most cases, this is an attempt to reduce or negate any compensation to which you may otherwise be entitled. However, even in this case, it is possible to recover damages even if your actions contributed to the circumstances of the accident. In the state of Georgia, a system called comparative negligence is used in car accident cases. Under this system, if you can show that you bear less than 50% of the responsibility for the auto accident, then you will be able to recover compensation for your losses, albeit reduced according to your share of the responsibility.
How Much Compensation Can I Expect for a Car Accident in Sandy Springs?
Anyone injured in a car accident in Sandy Springs, GA due to the fault of someone else can seek damages that will completely cover all costs and losses. These damages can be material, or economic, including medical bills, ER costs, ambulance costs, vehicle repair, rental car costs, and property damage. In addition to economic damages incurred since the accident, you may also claim economic damages which you have not yet incurred, including future lost wages, reduced earning potential, and medical bills for future treatments. While material, economic damages tend to be fairly straightforward to enumerate with the help of a Sandy Springs auto wreck lawyer, you may also seek non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, and disfigurement. If the at-fault driver was grossly negligent, you might seek punitive damages as a non-economic factor as well.
Getting Rental Car Coverage after a Sandy Springs, GA Car Accident
Following a car accident, particularly one that is serious enough to cause injuries, getting new transportation is going to be top-of-mind. You will need to be able to make doctor’s appointments, to meet with an auto accident attorney in Sandy Springs, and generally take care of yourself while your car is being repaired. Unsurprisingly, one of the most common questions we get as car accident lawyers in Sandy Springs is about the process of getting a rental car following a car accident.
Car accident lawyers can explain that the first and best place to seek rental car coverage is by calling your own insurance company. Some policies include rental reimbursement as a part of your existing coverage. If your policy includes this, this is the most efficient method of seeing your rental vehicle covered. Though the other driver may be at fault and therefore liable for all costs including rental coverage, your own insurance company will provide you with this coverage much more quickly. The other insurance company will typically not pay any of your costs before they have accepted responsibility for the accident.
Do I Need to Provide a Statement in Exchange for Rental Coverage?
If you must seek rental coverage from the other insurance company, sometimes they will ask for a statement on the record before covering your costs. You should be very wary of providing any kind of statement because it will certainly be used against you later. Before you do this, speak to a vehicle accident lawyer in Sandy Springs, GA.
Seeking Medical Payments after a Car Accident
Any car accident in Sandy Springs which is serious enough to involve injuries will involve expensive medical bills. While it is very important that you seek medical attention for your injuries both in terms of your general wellness and in terms of establishing clear documentation of your injuries, those bills will need to be paid if you want to avoid damaging your credit. This is understandably frustrating and distressing – especially when you know the accident was not your fault. You auto accident lawyers in Sandy Springs, GA will make sure that all your medical bills are sent to the correct insurance company for payment. Commonly, a medical bill is sent to collections simply because the bill goes to the wrong place. By working with a personal injury attorney in Sandy Springs, GA, you can avoid falling into collections because of a mislabeled envelope, or a misunderstood instruction.
At the end of the day, however, medical bills that are sent to the other driver’s insurance company are most likely not going to be paid on time. While often medical institutions are understanding this, their collections process will sometimes continue while your case is pending. If you wish to avoid the risk of damaging your credit entirely, you can speak with your car accident lawyer in Sandy Springs about medical facilities and professionals who will treat patients with the understanding that they will be paid upon settlement of your case.
Seeing a Doctor After Your Sandy Springs Car Accident
Another of the most common questions we get as car accident attorneys in Sandy Springs Georgia is how soon following an accident you should see a doctor. If you have been involved in a Sandy Springs auto accident, you should see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. If you can, seeing a doctor right after leaving the scene of the accident is best. Even if you think your injuries are not serious (just a bruise, or just a little muscle strain), it is crucial that you take this step for two reasons.
First, injuries incurred in a Sandy Springs car accident may not begin to show serious symptoms for days or weeks. Frequently, these injuries include head or spinal injuries and can be very serious. By seeing a doctor right away, you can rule out the possibility of serious injury or get early treatment, saving yourself pain and suffering.
Second, seeing a doctor as soon as possible helps to link those injuries to the accident. By refusing medical treatment after the accident, the other insurance company can argue that you claimed you were not injured at the time of the accident. By waiting days or weeks to see a doctor, you provide the other insurance company with the opportunity to speculate that your injuries, though real, were sustained after the accident. This is not a deal-breaker in your case, and your auto accident lawyer in Sandy Springs will work with you to prove beyond a doubt that your injuries were caused in the crash – but that process is much easier if you see a doctor right away. Finally, once you have seen a doctor, make sure you follow their recommendations exactly. Failing to do this can harm your ability to seek compensation as well.
Contact a Sandy Spring Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a vehicle accident near Sandy Springs Georgia, you know that you have plenty of phone calls to make and papers to sign. You’ll speak to the police, report the accident to your own insurance company, begin vehicle repairs, talk to the other driver, get statements from witnesses, visit with a doctor, and – hopefully – consult a car accident attorney in Sandy Springs.
Doing this last step can potentially save you a great deal of stress during the process of negotiation, and will be your closest ally should your case go to trial. If you have been in a car accident in Sandy Springs, call The Weinstein Firm today.