If you have been injured in a car accident, what you do next is important. You could have a claim for significant financial compensation, and if you make mistakes, you could jeopardize your legal rights. In fact, if you make certain mistakes (like waiting too long to file a claim), you could lose your rights entirely.
What Can an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer Do for You?
At this point, you may be wondering if it is time to hire a lawyer. You want to protect your rights, and you want to make sure that you are able to recover maximum financial compensation for your losses. But, can a lawyer really help?
Absolutely. When it comes to pursuing any type of personal injury claim, it is critical to have an experienced attorney on your side. The insurance companies have adjusters and defense lawyers to protect their rights, but who is looking out for you? Without experienced legal representation, you won’t know how much you are entitled to recover, and you almost certainly won’t recover the full amount you deserve.
10 Questions: Should You Hire a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
Still not sure if you should hire an attorney? Use these 10 questions to find out if it is worth speaking with someone about your claim:
- Were you injured? Since you’re reading this article, the answer to this question is most likely, “yes.” In order to recover maximum compensation, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you suffered an accident-related injury.
- Did you need medical attention? You should always seek medical attention after a car accident. Even if you initially feel fine, you could have serious internal injuries that require immediate treatment. If you have not seen a doctor, we can provide you with a referral.
- Have you missed time from work? If you have missed time from work as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for your lost wages. To recover this compensation, you will need an experienced attorney on your side.
- Was another vehicle involved in the accident? Most (but not all) car accident claims involve collisions between multiple vehicles. If another vehicle was involved, hopefully you were able to collect the driver’s insurance information and take some photos of their vehicle. If not, we can help you seek to identify the driver so that we can hold them responsible.
- Is it possible that your accident or injuries are the result of a vehicle defect? At any moment in time, there are millions of vehicles on the road that have defects. If your accident or injuries are the result of defective brakes, defective tires, a defective airbag, or any other vehicle defect, our attorneys may be able to pursue a claim against your vehicle’s manufacturer.
- Are you in pain? If you are in pain, under Georgia law, you may be entitled to financial compensation for “pain and suffering.” This is in addition to your other financial and non-financial losses stemming from the accident.
- Are you struggling to cope with life after your accident? Georgia law also entitles accident victims to seek compensation for emotional distress and reduced quality of life. If you now find it difficult or unenjoyable to do things like walk, eat, or spend time with friends and family, an experienced lawyer may be able to help you secure a substantial settlement from the insurance companies.
- Has it been less than two years since the accident? In Georgia, the “statute of limitations” for most car accident claims is two years. To avoid any issues, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
- Are you struggling to deal with the insurance companies? While the insurance adjusters assigned to your claim may seem like they are on your side, the reality is that they do not have your best interests in mind. The insurance companies want one thing: To settle your claim for as little as possible.
- Do you have questions about your legal rights? As a car accident victim, you are not expected to know if you have a claim for compensation. If you have any questions about your rights, you should speak with an attorney before you make any decisions about whether or not to pursue a claim.
If you answered “yes” to any of these 10 questions, we encourage you to contact us immediately for a free consultation about pursuing a claim for financial compensation.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident in Georgia
If you have a claim for compensation, there are some important steps you need to try to take right away following your accident. Here are seven tips from the car accident lawyers at Van Sant Law:
7 Steps for Protecting Your Legal Rights
After suffering injuries in a car accident in Georgia, you should:
- Collect evidence. If you are physically able to do so, you should try to collect evidence at the scene of the accident. Try to take photos with your phone, be sure to get the other driver’s information, and ask any witnesses for their names and contact information as well.
- Seek prompt medical attention. After an accident, seeking medical attention needs to be a top priority. Be sure to fully describe your symptoms to your doctor so that he or she can provide a thorough diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Follow your doctor’s advice. Once you receive a diagnosis and treatment plan, you need to follow your doctor’s advice. Rest, go to physical therapy, wear your brace, or do whatever else your doctor prescribes.
- Keep records. Now is a good time to get in the habit of keeping records. Always ask for copies of your scans and receipts at the doctor’s office, and make sure you keep copies of your bills and statements of benefits. Paying by check or credit card can make it easier to track expenses like prescriptions and medical supplies, as well.
- Review our FAQs. For more information on what to expect when it comes to dealing with the insurance companies, we encourage you to read our Personal Injury FAQs.
- Download our free Georgia Accident Guide. Our attorneys have also published the Georgia Car Accident Guide, which you can download from our website free of charge.
- Speak with an experienced attorney. Finally, no amount of online research is a substitute for speaking with an experienced attorney. At Van Sant Law, we offer free consultations, and you do not pay any legal fees unless we help you win just compensation.
IMPORTANT: Avoid These 3 Common Mistakes
In addition to taking the steps we’ve outlined above, you should also avoid these three common mistakes:
- Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company. Once you start dealing with the insurance companies, they will try to get you to give them a recorded statement. Why? Because they want to be able to use your own words against you. Remember, the insurance companies want to settle your case for as little as possible. If you make the mistake of giving a recorded statement, it could come back to hurt you in your claim. At Van Sant Law, we can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf so that you don’t have to put up with the adjusters’ tactics.
- Do not settle your claim too soon. Another critical mistake that far too many people make is settling their car accident claims too soon. Once you settle your claim, that’s it. You don’t get a second chance to seek additional compensation. As a result, before you settle, you need to be confident that the settlement amount will be enough to cover your losses now and in the future.
- Do not discuss your accident on social media. We cannot emphasize this enough. When you pursue an insurance claim, the insurance companies and their defense lawyers will be looking for evidence they can use against you. If you post a picture of yourself out having a fun night while you are pursuing a claim for emotional distress, or if you post about your tough day at work when you are supposed to be resting, these are the types of things that the insurance companies can – and will – use against you.
How can you avoid these mistakes while making sure you take the necessary steps to protect your claim for compensation? The answer is simple: Talk to a qualified attorney. It costs you nothing to learn how to protect your rights, but it could cost you everything if you decide not to put an attorney on your side.
Find Out if You Have a Claim – Schedule a Free Car Accident Consultation Today
If you would like to speak with a lawyer about your Georgia car accident, please contact us immediately to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Find out if you have a claim – call (404) 991-5950, chat with us live, or request an appointment online now.