You probably know that after you are involved in a car accident in Georgia, you need to file an injury claim in order to recover compensation for any losses that you have suffered. What you might not know, however, is how the claims process works, what types of compensation you may recover, what you need to prove in order to recover compensation, and what types of things can ruin your car accident claim. If you are involved in a wreck, consider the following information regarding what you need to know about filing a car accident injury claim in Georgia
One of the most important things to understand is that when you are involved in a crash in Georgia, you have three options for recovering compensation – filing a claim with your insurance company is only one of them. In addition to filing a claim with your own insurance company, you may also file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver, or you may file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the at-fault driver. This is because Georgia is an at-fault state, in which drivers are responsible for paying for the accidents that they cause.
If the other driver was to blame for the crash, then potential sources of recovery are the other driver’s property damage liability insurance, bodily injury liability insurance, and your own policy’s uninsured/underinsured coverage or your policy’s collision or medical coverage insurance. If you are at fault for the accident, then your insurance will be responsible for paying for the other driver’s damages. If you suffered injuries or property damage, you may not be able to recover compensation unless you carry medical payments coverage or collision coverage.
Regardless of the action you decide to take after a crash, it is very important to be aware of time limits. In most cases, you are required to notify the police immediately following the accident, and are also required to notify your insurance company as soon as is reasonably possible. If you are planning to file a lawsuit, you must do so within two years from the date that the accident occurred. This timeline is extended to four years if the recovery is for property damage alone. This information is found in Georgia Code Section 9-3-33.
Keep in mind that if you do not report your accident to your insurance company or file your claim within the required amount of time, you may be barred from recovering compensation at all.
In addition to understanding time limits and laws about fault when filing a Georgia car accident claim, it is also important to understand the myriad things that you should not do when filing a claim. Some common mistakes to avoid when pursuing an injury claim after a crash include:
- Admitting fault. Even if you believe that the accident was your fault, you should not admit fault to the police officers or insurance adjusters, as this can immediately diminish the value of your claim. Remember, saying “I did it,” is not the only admission of fault; “I’m sorry,” or, “I shouldn’t have been speeding,” and other phrases like this are also incriminating.
- Giving the insurance adjuster too much information. Another big mistake that people make is giving the insurance adjuster too much information. For example, a person may speculate as to the speed that they were going or what caused the accident, information that could be incorrect or place blame on your shoulders. Another mistake is giving your insurance adjuster information to your health records, which can actually be used against you to suggest negligence on your part.
- Posting about the accident – or life after the accident – on social media. When you are involved in the claims process, one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is using social media to tell friends (and the world) about your accident and life after the accident. The insurance adjuster will try to find you online, and will use your online information to devalue your claim. For example, if you are claiming damages for pain and suffering, but post pictures of yourself with family and friends smiling, the adjuster may argue that you are clearly not suffering or in pain, and are instead enjoying your life.
Doing any of the things above can harm your chances of getting the settlement that you deserve.
Of course, the most important thing to you after filing your claim is getting a settlement. When you get your settlement offer will depend on a number of things, including the amount of time that it takes the insurance company to investigate your claim. If you feel like you have waited an unreasonable amount of time, you should contact a lawyer.
When you get your settlement offer, you should not accept it; instead, you should have the offer reviewed by a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with your case. Insurance adjusters often offer injury victims less than they really deserve hoping that the claimant will accept the settlement and move on. You have the right to negotiate for a settlement offer that addresses the losses that you have suffered.
At the law offices of The Millar Law Firm, our auto accident claim attorneys know that the claims process can be confusing. We also know that you are expecting a settlement offer that fully compensates you for your losses. When you call our team, we will start investigating your case and building your claim immediately. If achieving a settlement offer through negotiations is not possible, we will take your case to court and litigate on your behalf.
If you’re ready to learn more about how we can help and why you should work with our team when filing a claim after an auto accident in Georgia, contact us today. We are reachable online or by phone now.
Atlanta, Georgia Car Accident Resources
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- How do I get money to pay my medical bills and car repair after an accident?
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