Filing Georgia Auto Accidents Claims: Why Self-Help Is a Bad Idea


March 05, 2011

Many people make the mistake of believing that they can avoid the time and expense of hiring a lawyer by simply making an insurance claim following a collision where there appear to be no serious injuries. While this can be a tempting idea if you are involved in an accident in the Atlanta area or elsewhere in the state of Georgia, it may mean that you walk away with far less compensation then you are entitled to receive.

In some cases, you may waive your rights to bring a claim for physical injuries that are not immediately apparent, which can result in your later not having the financial resources you need to obtain necessary medical care or rehabilitative therapy from problems that later become apparent or that worsen over time. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been assisting Georgia auto accident victims and their families for over 27 years.

While it may appear that the insurance company is being cooperative and helpful in quickly reaching a settlement offer following an auto accident, the insurance company’s goal is to minimize the amount that is paid on the claim. The insurance company will always offer less than the claim is worth. Without an experienced Georgia auto accident lawyer, you have no way to assess the appropriateness of the offer. Even if there is not a lot of damage to the vehicles, a person can still suffer significant injuries in a traffic collision. The insurance company adjuster will often claim that because there is little damage to the vehicles the accident is a “low impact” auto accident and deny compensation for injuries. However, it is well-established that a person can suffer significant injuries even in an automobile accident with minimal vehicle damage.

When an insurance company offers to settle a claim, they will ask you to sign a general release which has the effect of waiving all claims for damage and injury, even those that are unknown. It is not uncommon that serious auto accident injuries will not be immediately apparent after an auto accident. Nonetheless, serious injuries may manifest themselves later including fractures, spinal injuries, head and neck injuries, and soft tissue damage including torn ligaments or tendons. After you have signed a general release, you may have waived your right to obtain compensation for serious injuries that may require significant medical care and rehabilitative expenses. You also waive your right to compensation for pain and suffering and other damages. The problem is compounded when you refuse medical treatment after a car accident because you believe that you have only minor injuries. If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should seek medical treatment so that a physician can determine if you may have injuries that you are unaware of or that are more serious than you realize. And you should report all symptoms to the doctors and treatment providers, no matter how minor they may seem.

As attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we can evaluate your automobile accident and review your medical records and all of the evidence to determine the actual value of your claim. We will be able to advise you regarding whether the offer from the insurance company is fair and reasonable given the nature of liability, damages and your injuries. Insurance companies and their lawyers do nothing but handle claims of this nature, so without legal representation you are not on equal ground in a negotiation. Of course, the earlier we get involved in a case the more helpful we can be. It is rare that a person who handles their own traffic accident claim will receive compensation that is comparable to that received by a person represented by a Georgia auto accident attorney. In fact, studies have shown that people who retain an attorney get several times as much money on average than when they settle the claim by themselves.

If you are involved in a car accident in Atlanta or elsewhere throughout the state of Georgia, even if there is not significant vehicle damage or obvious serious injuries, contact the Georgia auto accident claims attorneys at Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, to learn how we can help. We have seen the tragic impact when victims come to us after settling with an insurance company only to realize they have serious injuries that were not apparent at the time of settlement. We have also seen the negative consequences of speaking to the insurance company and waiting too long to contact us, causing valuable evidence to disappear and giving the insurance company an upper hand from statements that have been made. You have nothing to lose by coming to see us for a free consultation and everything to gain – better safe than sorry. We work hard for our clients and are committed to providing exceptional service as part of our goal of being the best auto accident claims attorneys in Georgia.

We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast including, but not limited to, Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller and rural towns in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or use our 24-Hour Online Chat at www.montlick.com.

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.