In one accident, a man was making a left turn on an arrow light that was allegedly blinking yellow. A motorcycle was traveling westbound on the highway and ran into the car. The driver of the vehicle said that the motorcycle was speeding; however, the speed limit in the area is 45 mph. The motorcyclist lost his life. As of the time of printing, it was unknown if the motorcyclist was actually speeding or if police charged the man in the vehicle with going through a red light.
In just one year, Gwinnett County saw 39,970 accidents with 13,535 injuries. Additionally, that year, the county saw 66 fatalities. Alcohol and speeding were the top two causes of fatal accidents, with 24 and 16 deaths, respectively. If you are in an accident, you should take several important steps to ensure that your injuries are taken care of and that your rights are protected. We’ll cover these in detail below.
I am not hurt. Should I get medical attention?
You should always seek medical attention after an accident. Some injuries don’t manifest for hours or even a day or two after the accident. Adrenaline often keeps you from feeling pain. Additionally, you could have internal injuries and not know it until it’s too late.
Do I need a lawyer if my injuries are minor?
You should always call your lawyer, regardless of how minor your injuries. Insurance companies are in business to make a profit and will try to deny your claim or pay out the least amount possible. In fact, the only information you should give any insurance company about an accident is your name, the other driver’s contact information, the date and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information.
What should I do at the accident scene?
Always check on others involved in the accident and call first responders. If you are able, take photos of the accident scene from all angles. Get the other driver’s contact, registration, and insurance information. Get contact information from any witnesses. Be sure to give the police an accurate accounting of what happened, then ask how to get a copy of the police report. The officer will advise you when the report becomes available and where you can pick up your copy.
Why should I let my attorney handle the insurance companies?
As much as you would like to believe the insurance companies look out for your best interests, you should keep in mind that they only care about their bottom lines. Thus, they will spin anything you say in such a way as to try to deny your claim or settle for a lesser amount. In some cases, you might not get enough to cover your medical expenses. Always let your attorney give the insurance company the facts—if the insurance company tries to twist the attorney’s words, the attorney will know how to respond.
How much is my case worth?
The value of your case depends on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of your injuries. You could recover special, general, and punitive damages. The court orders special and general damages in an attempt to make you whole again. If you can show that the defendant should owe punitive damages, the court makes this award as a punishment to the defendant for his or her grossly negligent or intentional behavior. Recoverable damages include past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, replacement or repair of personal damage, burial and funeral expenses, pain and suffering, loss of companionship and/or consortium, loss of use of a body part or function, disfigurement and inconvenience.
What if I have preexisting conditions?
Injuries from an accident could exacerbate pre-existing conditions. You should always let your attorney know of any pre-existing conditions, and any treatments you are on that could compromise your immune system. Diabetes, immunodeficiency diseases, and chemo treatments are just some of the things that could cause car accident injuries to heal slower. The longer it takes an injury to heal, the more chance you have of open wounds getting infected. The at-fault driver and/or his or her insurance company are obligated to pay for the additional medical care you might require.
How long do I have to file a claim?
While Georgia has a statute of limitations of two years to file a lawsuit, insurance companies give you mere days to file a claim—usually 30 or less. Every insurance company is different, so always call to start the claim process immediately. Remember, just tell the company you want to initiate a claim and tell it your attorney will be in touch with the facts. The sooner you contact your attorney, the sooner he or she can start settlement negotiations with the insurance company. If the insurance company does not come to a fair and reasonable settlement, your attorney will have time to file a lawsuit, should you decide to take that avenue.
Do I need copies of my medical bills?
If you can get copies of your medical bills and transcripts of the care you received for injuries that you suffered in a wreck, pick them up and bring them to your attorney. Throughout the process, you will need to provide additional medical bills as they become available. The bills and transcripts of your care will help the attorneys fight for compensation for your injuries. If doctors expect your injuries to be long-term or permanent, the invoices and transcripts will help prove your case for future medical expenses and future lost wages.
What if I need therapy because of the accident?
You could need physical, cognitive, or psychological therapy after the accident. The at-fault driver’s insurance company—or the at-fault driver—should be liable for these expenses.
If the accident was severe, you could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. If your injuries are long-term or permanent, you could suffer from depression. If it weren’t for the accident, you would not suffer from these psychological issues, thus; the at-fault driver should be held responsible for those medical bills.
Consider speaking with our Gwinnett County car accident attorneys if you suffer injuries from a car accident, or if you lost a loved one in a car accident.
Brauns Law, P.C.
3175 Satellite Boulevard, Bldg 600
Duluth, GA 30096