From Injury to Recovery: The Personal Injury Process Explained
You take your personal safety seriously. You are especially careful when driving. You are in the habit of being vigilant, watchful, and following traffic rules to the letter. Unfortunately, not everyone is so conscientious. There are people whose driving is so reckless that they should not be on the road at all. If you have been injured in an accident caused by such a person, you should pursue your legal options.
What to Do After an Auto Accident
A car accident is a sudden, violent, and disorienting experience. The event will leave you confused for a little while. After you have recovered your senses, you should take the following actions:
1. Check yourself and your passengers for injury
You should check your own status first. The shock of the accident may numb your pain, which is why you should check for bleeding with your hands. You should then check the status of any passengers you may be carrying. If you have children in the car, they will cry. This is perfectly natural, as the accident will have frightened them. Before removing a child from a car seat, do what you can to ensure they do not have any broken bones.
2. Call emergency services
Do not assume that the people in the other car will do this. Dial 911 yourself. They will dispatch rescue vehicles to your location immediately.
3. Check the status of the people in the other car
If you are conscious and mobile, you should go to the other car to see if anyone is injured. If you still have the 911 operator on the line, you should tell them if someone in the other vehicle has been hurt.
4. Exchange information
You should exchange personal contact and insurance information with the other driver. It is important that you say nothing that admits fault on your part.
5. Document the accident scene and car damage
Use your cell phone to take pictures of the damage done to your car. You should get shots from as many perspectives as you can.
6. Get yourself checked by a doctor
Even if you are not seriously injured, you should undergo an examination by an emergency room doctor immediately. They can detect injuries that you may not be able to see or feel. If you have been injured in the accident, you should take photos of the injury before it is treated and bandaged. The hospital staff will show you how to do this safely.
7. Call a Georgia personal injury lawyer
You should call a Georgia personal injury attorney immediately to ensure the proper steps are taken to maximize your compensation.
The Personal Injury Claim Process
You should speak to an attorney before reporting the accident to your insurance company. You have rights, and your lawyer will tell you exactly what they are.
If the accident was clearly the fault of the other driver, you need not file a lawsuit immediately. The other driver’s insurance company will contact you and may even offer a low-dollar figure to settle the matter. You should send all such communications—by phone or email—to your lawyer. Let your attorney speak for you. If representatives of the insurance company want to sit down with you, your attorney should be present; you should likewise allow them to do all the talking.
If the compensation offered by the insurance company covers your medical expenses and wages lost and offers fair and adequate compensation for the pain and injury you have suffered, then your lawyer may advise you to accept it. However, if you have been severely hurt in the accident, then you will need to press for more money.
A severe injury can put you on your back for months. During that time, you will be unable to pay bills or earn a living. You should not have to bear this burden alone. Your lawyer will make it clear to the insurance company that the extent of the injuries caused by the recklessness of their client justifies a larger settlement.
These initial negotiations will be just between lawyers—your lawyer and the attorneys representing the insurance company. It is the practice of insurance firm lawyers to drag out such proceedings. But a tough, smart, experienced Georgia personal injury attorney will know when it is time to file a formal lawsuit and use the legal powers that come with that.
Once your attorney has filed a lawsuit on your behalf, they will have the power to subpoena a range of documents pertaining to the accident. These include the police and insurance company report of the accident and relevant documents of the insurance company itself. Your lawyer will also have the power to depose company officials to discern whether they have acted legally and in good faith toward you.
Your lawyer will also launch their own investigation into the accident. They will work with a team of independent investigators to re-interview witnesses and gather forensic evidence that may have been overlooked. Re-interviewing witnesses is a very important step. Some people refuse to speak to the police. They may be more willing to speak to the investigators sent by your attorney. This can produce new evidence, including phone camera footage of the accident.
Your lawyer will be able to make the case that the accident was the result of recklessness on the part of the other driver and that you are owed compensation for it. This will lead to another round of negotiations. The insurance company is likely to make a higher offer rather than risk a jury decision.
Call Monge & Associates today at (800) 860-8021 for a free consultation.