Every time a Bainbridge resident gets in their car to drive, they’re at risk of getting into a car accident. No one wants to imagine an accident scenario, but when it does happen, the aftermath can be painful and overwhelming. It shouldn’t have to be expensive too. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident, you are entitled to financial recovery for your injuries and damages. Even seemingly minor injuries can become more serious and run tens or even hundreds of dollars—not to mention costs for repairing damage to your vehicle. Don’t get stuck with expenses from an accident that wasn’t even your fault. Contact a good Bainbridge car accident lawyer today.
At John Foy & Associates, we’ve spent the past 20+ years representing car accident victims so they don’t have to bear the financial burden of an accident. From our beginnings as a small local law office, we’ve grown to be one of the most respected law firms in Georgia—and we want to help you. We’ll sit down with you for a FREE consultation to hear about the accident details. Then, we’ll discuss your options and your case—with the goal of getting you the fullest recovery possible for your damages. For that free consultation, simply call us today at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right of this page.
Four Things Most People Don’t Know About Car Accident Claims
After you’ve been in a car accident, you’ll need to take specific steps to seek financial recovery for your damages. “Damages” simply refer to any losses in a personal injury case that can be compensated. Those include:
- Medical and hospital bills, tests, and prescription medications for treating your injuries
- Repair or replacement costs for damage to your vehicle
- Time lost from work due to the accident and treatment of accident-related injuries
- Wrongful death losses, including the mental anguish and pain from losing a loved one in an accident
- Pain and suffering damages
Since many car accident victims have never been in an accident before, it’s likely they won’t know exactly how the claims process works. Here are four facts most people don’t know, but should, when seeking damages after a car accident they didn’t cause.
1. You’ll need to gather a LOT of information for your claim.
Even when the other driver was at fault for the accident, you rarely ever deal directly with that driver when trying to settle your claim for the damages. Most of the time, you work directly with the driver’s insurance company. The insurer is responsible for covering the costs if the person who has a policy with them was negligent and caused the accident.
It’s important to know that insurance companies are for-profit, so they won’t pay out easily. They will want to see evidence that the other driver caused the accident and you didn’t contribute to it. For this reason, you should start gathering information as soon as possible after the car accident occurs. That includes getting details like:
- The name, insurance company, and contact information for the other driver
- Pictures of the accident scene, especially photos of your injuries, physical damages to your vehicle, locations of the involved vehicles, license plates of each vehicle, and anything else you think might be relevant (you can easily do this with any cell phone)
- The names of police officers who come to the scene
- The contact information and names of any witnesses to the accident
You’ll also want to keep clear records of your doctor visits and medical bills to show a doctor has confirmed your injuries and treatment plan resulting from the accident.
2. Insurers are not your friends.
We’d like to believe insurance companies have our backs during such a painful and vulnerable time. But they are not on your side. Insurers make money by paying out less than they have to on a claim, so never accept any first offer they give you as a settlement. Know that they may try to claim the accident was at least somewhat your fault or claim you haven’t provided enough documentation to support the losses you’re claiming. Gathering a lot of information and consulting an attorney will help you fight this possibility.
You should also:
- Never give any written or recorded statements to your insurer until you’ve looked over your coverage and made sure you understand it fully — preferably with the help of an attorney. You also aren’t required to let the insurers record your conversation. A good car accident lawyer can help make sure you aren’t getting taken advantage of and your policy is being upheld
- Don’t sign any waivers or releases of any type until you’ve spoken to a legal professional. You might be tempted to accept an upfront settlement amount from the insurer, especially if you’re stressing about how to pay your medical bills, but this is how they lowball you. There are almost always much higher costs from the accident than you realize right away, and signing a release right away will prevent you from seeking the recovery you actually deserve
- Never accept any checks that say “final payment” unless you’re ready to actually accept a payment (and, for your best interests, you should consult an attorney before doing so)
- Keep detailed notes of any conversation you have with insurance representatives. Note what you talked about, the agent’s name and contact information, and job titles of everyone to talk to
The more documentation and information you can provide the insurer, the more likely you are to get full and fair compensation for your damages.
3. Most insurance policies have a time limit.
Most insurance policies require signed proof of loss from you—and they need them within a certain time frame. Don’t ignore this, as doing so could really cost you. Most of the time, you have one year from the date of the accident to bring legal action if your claim hasn’t been settled fairly. This may seem like a lot of time, but it goes by quickly, so the time to act is now.
4. It’s risky to not have a lawyer.
An experienced car accident lawyer knows the claims process and can guide you through it efficiently. Your best bet for getting the FULL recovery of your expenses starts with contacting an attorney who understands this business.
Talk to a Bainbridge Car Accident Lawyer for Free
At John Foy & Associates, we’re here to help you pursue a financial recovery that you actually deserve. Don’t go it alone. Contact us today and we’ll set you up with a FREE consultation to discuss your best options. Call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to the right to get started.