Getting the Most Out of Your Auto Accident Claim in Georgia


November 10, 2011

There are over six million car accidents in the U.S. annually resulting in a huge toll in human life and financial resources. Someone is injured in a car accident every fourteen seconds, resulting in over two million car accident victims who suffer some type of serious injury or permanent disability. Auto accidents cost every person in the U.S. an average of a thousand dollars per year, resulting in a total cost that exceeds $164 billion dollars per year.

While it can be easy to believe that it will never happen to you, 25 percent of the population has been involved in a car accident within the last five years.

If you or someone you love is involved in a serious Georgia car accident and suffer permanent injuries or wrongful death, how your car accident claim is handled can determine whether you get the compensation you deserve. Obtaining the most amount of money in your auto accident lawsuit or settlement will help ensure that you have what you need to compensate you for medical expenses, necessary rehabilitation and ongoing therapy, pain and suffering, lost wages and any loss in future earning capacity due to partial or total permanent disability. At Montlick and Associates, we have been representing people injured in Georgia car accidents for over 28 years. We have provided some suggestions below that can help you maximize the value of your Georgia car accident claim.

Medical Treatment and Therapy: The insurance company for the other driver will typically try to dispute the seriousness of your injuries. Any delay in obtaining medical treatment after your car accident creates an opportunity for the insurance company adjusters or lawyers to claim your injuries were not caused by the car accident, or that you are faking or exaggerating your injuries. If you seek prompt medical treatment and disclose all symptoms no matter how minor they seem, your medical records can help substantiate your claims with regard to the nature and seriousness of your injuries. The doctor may also employ objective diagnostic tests like x-rays, MRIs or other tests that document your injuries. It is also important that you complete any ongoing treatment, therapy or rehabilitation to get well, and to document your auto accident claim.

Documentation and Evidence Collection: Sometimes car accident victims compromise their auto accident recovery because they do not take affirmative steps following a serious auto collision to preserve and gather evidence. You should use your camera on your phone or carry a camera in the car so that you can photograph the accident scene, condition of the vehicles and any injuries. You should also get the contact information for any witnesses as well as the police accident report or at least the report number and name of the officer. It is important that all loose parts and debris be preserved as in a serious accident they may help an accident reconstruction expert explain to a judge or jury issues such as liability or fault and causation with respect to how the collision caused your specific injuries. You should also keep a journal and document your pain and ways that your pain and injuries are impacting your daily life. Generally speaking, it is best to involve an experienced auto accident attorney to protect your rights as soon as possible after a collision, as the attorney can help ensure that evidence is preserved and that injuries are documented. For example, our law firm has investigators who can visit the scene of an accident and interview witnesses whenever we feel it is important.

Do Not Discuss Your Case with Anyone: Many people compromise the value of their auto accident claim by making statements that may seem harmless at the time. An accident victim may tell the other driver or a witness that "The driver must have been speeding because he came out of nowhere, and I did not see him until he hit me." While this sounds like a statement indicating the other driver was at fault, it might be misconstrued to suggest you were not paying attention or failed to check to make sure it was safe to proceed. The police officer may ask what happened but you should avoid admitting fault or saying anything suggesting that the car crash was your fault. You should cooperate with the police by honestly answering questions. The insurance adjuster may try to discuss the auto accident with you or want to take a recorded statement. Remember that the adjuster's entire motivation in speaking with you is to reduce the amount of any compensation you receive or avoid paying your claim entirely. When our law firm represents an injured person, we handle contact with the insurance company, and if we believe it is advisable to permit a recorded statement one of our attorneys will be involved in that process to ensure the protection of our client's rights.

Select an Experienced Georgia Auto Accident Lawyer: Many people presume that law firms are equally capable of handling serious auto accident lawsuits. If you choose an experienced auto accident law firm with an outstanding reputation, insurance companies will be more motivated to settle the case for a higher amount. The best auto accident attorneys and law firms have a reputation for large settlements and a willingness to do whatever it takes to protect their clients' rights, including taking a case to trial. Attorneys for the insurance company will typically do research on your lawyer to determine the reputation, war chest and aggressiveness of the law firm. If a person has suffered catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, it is important to pick a law firm with attorneys experienced in handling cases involving catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, internal organ damage and wrongful death.

Communicate and Cooperate with Your Attorney: You should keep in contact with your attorney and provide necessary documents or information in a timely fashion. The law firm may need information about medical treatment, past injuries, job or salary information or other data relevant to your case, or necessary to respond to discovery requests by the defendant if a lawsuit is filed. Discovery is the formal process by which each side has a right to obtain information, documents and an understanding of the other side's position in a lawsuit. Discovery requests have specific deadlines that require a timely response so it is important that you provide requested information or documents to your attorney in a timely manner.

Pick a Firm That Focuses on Personal Injury Law And That Has The Financial Resources To Do What Is Necessary: Many attorneys handle personal injury cases but they also practice family law, criminal law, business law and pretty much anything that walks through the door. If you have suffered major injuries and want to get the full value of your auto accident claim, we encourage you to get a law firm that focuses entirely on personal injury cases not a "jack of all trades." You also need a law firm that has deep pockets and can dig in for the long haul if the insurance company is not being reasonable. A law firm with limited resources may feel financial pressure to settle your case too quickly. While we understand that settling your case quickly is important, it is also important to get the maximum amount of money by being willing to engage in litigation if necessary.

Even auto accidents and car accident victims that seem similar typically have individual differences that may impact the amount that your auto accident lawsuit is worth. If you follow these basic suggestions, you can play a significant role in ensuring that you get what you deserve from your auto accident claim. At Montlick and Associates, we have been representing Georgia residents who suffer catastrophic injuries or wrongful death for over a quarter of a century. If you or a family member has suffered serious injuries or wrongful death in a Georgia car accident, contact Montlick and Associates for a Free Consultation to learn how we can help.

Our experienced Georgia auto accident attorneys are available to assist clients 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 we 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.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.