No resident of Ellenwood, Georgia, wants to find themselves hurt in a car accident. But unfortunately, it can happen to anyone. Injuries and damages from the accident can leave a victim with a lot of costs.
If you’re in this situation, it’s unfair for you to pay for expenses that weren’t your fault – and the law is on your side. You may be entitled to full financial recovery for costs resulting from the accident. But it takes a trained legal eye on your case to give you the best chance, and that’s where an Ellenwood car accident lawyer can help.
Top 5 Things Most People Don’t Know About Car Accident Claims
Many people have never been the victim of a car accident before, so you might not know much about what to do afterward. The more you can learn, the better prepared you’ll be to file your insurance claim and have a successful outcome. Here are some facts about car accident claims you might not know.
1. Each Car Accident Case Has Its Own Value
Ellenwood, Georgia, is located in an “at-fault” state, which means those injured in a car accident are entitled to recover money for the costs of the accident (also known as damages). This includes medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The value of these damages varies greatly depending on the details of each person’s case. There’s no definitive formula for calculating the worth of your claim, and that amount takes legal experience to truly figure out.
To make sure you can accurately determine your total damages, you’ll want to set up a consultation with a car accident lawyer. Your case may be worth much more than you think!
2. The Insurance Company Is Not Your Friend
Insurance companies are always looking for ways to pay out less than the claims are worth. While useful, an insurance company is a for-profit company that looks out for their interests. They use sneaky tactics to reduce payments.
For example, some insurance adjusters will send you a check and a release in the mail, asking you to sign and send the release back, then deposit the check. Do not do this. It’s a way for them to get you to accept much less than your claim is worth. Cashing the money means you’re accepting their offer – which can make any more compensation near impossible.
Insurance companies also often reach out to car accident victims and ask how they’re doing. If you sound chipper or say you’re okay, they may try to claim you aren’t hurt as badly as you say. The best option is to not talk to the other driver’s insurer at all until you’ve consulted with a car accident lawyer.
Your lawyer can walk you through the best actions to prevent the insurer from taking advantage of your vulnerable state. Your car accident attorney in Ellenwood will also help negotiate a fair settlement amount if the insurance company offers you less than you need.
3. You Can Help Compile Evidence
To make an insurance claim, you’ll need to show the accident was caused by the other driver’s negligence. You’ll also have to keep track of all your bills and expenses so you have the best chance of not having to owe anything from the accident.
A car accident lawyer in Ellenwood will handle your case, but many people don’t know there are things they can do to help as well. Basically, the more you can document, the better. And it can start as soon as the moments following your accident. Here are some actions you can and should take:
- Call the police to report the accident, and tell them what happened, making sure they create a police report
- Take pictures of the accident scene, your injuries, and any damage to your car
- Write down everything you remember about the accident
- Talk to witnesses and ask for their contact information
- Keep detailed records of all medical bills and other expenses you paid or will face because of the accident
This information will help your Ellenwood car accident attorney in building your case and support your claim for financial compensation. Keep track of your lost wages as well. We can work to get you compensation for your lost paychecks as well.
4. You Probably Won’t Have to Go to Court
Most car accident claims are settled between you (and your attorney) and the insurance company. Once a fair amount is agreed upon, the case is closed and you receive your financial recovery.
In some cases, if you and the insurance company can’t reach a fair agreement, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit. But usually, the case without having to step foot in a courtroom. Roughly 1 in 10 cases have to go to an actual trial.
Car accident cases go to court when the insurer and you cannot come to an agreement on what a fair settlement is. Your lawyer can advise you on how adequate an insurer’s offer is to meet your needs based on their experience.
5. You Have Two Years to File Your Claim
You must either settle your case or file a lawsuit within two years of the date of your accident. This might seem like a long time, but it goes quickly. And each step in the process can take time. Don’t delay getting any help you need. Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as you can to get the process started.
If you go beyond this time limit, the statute of limitations, you will not be able to recover any money from your accident! Thus, it is in your best interest to start your case as soon as possible with a car accident lawyer if you’ve been in an accident in Ellenwood.
Get the strong arm
If the Driver Who Hit Me Was on Their Phone, What Should I Do?
Too many Ellenwood car accidents are caused by distracted drivers. By driving while on their cell phone, the other driver was acting negligently and put you in danger. If it was their distracted driving that led to the accident and your injuries (highly likely), they are responsible for your damages.
If you see the driver on their phone after the accident, try to get a picture or video of any actions. Of course, evidence of driving while on the phone is easy to delete after an accident. So it’s best to inform the police and call an Ellenwood car accident lawyer as soon as possible.
You’ll want to let the police and your attorney know you saw the other driver on their phone before the accident. Your attorney may also be able to get access to the driver’s cell phone records, which may show any calls or texts being exchanged right before the accident.
They may do this through a preservation letter to the driver, demanding call logs and text messages are preserved, or through a subpoena on their cell phone service carrier. If we can prove distracted driving, your chances of compensation will increase considerably.
What If I’m Partially at Fault for the Accident?
Sometimes a crash isn’t just the fault of one person. There could be three or more drivers, for instance. You could also have done something that contributed to your injuries. Georgia accounts for this using contributory negligence laws.
Put simply, as long as you’re under 50% responsible for the accident you are allowed to recover damages. If you equal or go beyond this percentage, you are out of luck. Your total compensation will be reduced by the percentage of fault you had.
As a simple example, say you were awarded $50,000 in your settlement, but the court deems you 10% responsible. You would only get $45,000 of the settlement. Insurers will use this rule to try to reduce how much they have to pay. Your Ellenwood car accident lawyer can fight back against those claims.
Talk to a Car Accident Attorney in Ellenwood for Free
John Foy & Associates has been helping car accident victims get the financial recovery they need for more than two decades. Starting with a FREE consultation, we’ll help you present the right evidence to prove the other driver was at fault and that you deserve full recovery of your damages.
Plus, working with us is risk-free: we don’t get paid unless we win you money. If you have damages from your car accident, the time to seek legal representation is now. John Foy & Associates is here to help.
With over 20 years of successful experience in car accident cases, we know what it takes to seek a full financial recovery. To get started, call us or fill out the form on this page for your free consultation.