Most people involved in a serious motorcycle accident, car crash, tractor-trailer collision or other accident have not had extensive experience nor traning in dealing with insurance companies or the civil litigation process. Understandably this can make pursuing a personal injury claim a somewhat daunting process unless you have access to legal advice from an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer who can demystify the process, take all of the actions that are needed to protect your rights, and provide realistic expectations and keep you informed about the progress of your case. Our Atlanta auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates recognize that the foreign nature of dealing with a legal claim for damages can make one susceptible to buying into common myths about the civil litigation process. In this two-part blog post, we have attempted to debunk some of the myths about Atlanta personal injury claims.
Myth #1: If liability is clear, the insurance company for the other driver will pay my claim.
The widespread acceptance of this belief is based on its inherent logic and fairness. Unfortunately, insurance companies are not in business to seek fairness for injury victims. Their primary objective is to increase profitability so carriers employ their considerable resources to avoid or minimize the amount of benefits paid to claimants. A car accident victim is not guaranteed financial compensation even when the fault of the other driver is virtually indisputable. There are many ways to unknowingly compromise a legitimate claim, especially when an injury victim does not have legal representation.
Myth #2: The insurance company will cover my medical expenses as they are incurred.
The other driver’s insurance company often does not compensate a motor vehicle injury victim until there is a settlement or court judgment against the other driver. Even if the insurance company offers to pay your medical bills, it is important to carefully review all paperwork from the insurance company to avoid inadvertently waiving rights related to future compensation.
Myth #3: A person cannot file a motor vehicle accident claim in Atlanta if he or she is an undocumented immigrant so he/she should avoid talking to the police, seeking medical treatment or pursuing an insurance claim.
This is absolutely false because there is no requirement that you be a legal resident or citizen to pursue a car accident injury claim. If you do not talk to the police officer, critical accident scene evidence may be missed, and the police report may be inaccurate. When you do not obtain diagnostic tests and medical treatment, it may be difficult to later substantiate the injuries caused by the car crash.
Myth #4: There is plenty of time following a collision to determine whether my injuries and other damages justify bringing a personal injury claim.
When you are involved in an auto collision, it is important to recognize that time is of the essence. A prompt medical evaluation of your injuries can preempt insurance company claims that your injuries are the result of other activities. If you wait to obtain legal advice, important evidence like vehicle damage, skid marks and witnesses may disappear. The law also imposes strict time deadlines for pursuing all legal claims, and if you fail to meet those requirements your right to pursue money damages will be lost.
Myth #5: My case must go to trial if I am to receive a substantial financial award.
While a jury verdict may result in a judgment, our Atlanta personal injury law firm routinely obtains significant settlements without going to trial. In fact, most car accident claims are settled without the need for a trial. Auto insurance companies settle claims to avoid the cost of litigation and the unpredictability of a jury verdict. Settling a case does not mean that a case will not result in a significant recovery.
Myth #6: There is no point in pursuing a car accident claim because the officer issued me a ticket and/or indicated that I was at-fault in an accident report.
While an unfavorable law enforcement accident report or a traffic citation can be an obstacle when pursuing a claim for damages, our Atlanta personal injury attorneys have successfully pursued car accident claims for clients facing these types of challenges. Sometimes both parties will share fault even if only one of the parties receives a ticket, as long as you are less than 50% at fault you can still pursue a recovery for money damages. Law enforcement officers also may make false assumptions and rely on inaccurate or dishonest witnesses when preparing an accident report. Regardless of the reason the officer’s accident report or ticket is inaccurate, our car accident lawyers frequently look at crashes with fresh eyes that may provide an alternate version of the facts indicating the fault of the other driver.
If you or someone close to you is injured or a loved one dies in an Atlanta car crash, call 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333) to speak with a qualified Atlanta auto accident attorney at Montlick and Associates. We are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.