Suddenly, a car hits you from behind while you are sitting at a red light. Now, you're injured and not sure what to do. Unfortunately, many people have experienced this situation when driving in Atlanta.
With all the distractions people have today, it's no surprise that rear-end accidents are so common. Texting while driving is against the law in Georgia, yet it still happens. It is estimated that 400 fatal accidents occur each year as a result of texting and driving, and this number rises to over 30,000 when you include accidents caused by distracted driving in general. Please read our advice below if this has happened to you or someone you love.
Atlanta, GA, rear-end accident victims may suffer injuries and car damage due to the accident. Obviously, you need medical treatment if you've been injured and you need your car fixed. When you're drowning in bills and your car is broken, you may not be sure how to handle it all.
That's why we're here. Our team at Broughton Accident & Injury Lawyers is committed to helping you after a serious accident. We aim to ensure that you receive quality medical treatment without having to pay any upfront costs and to help you recover damages.
So, how do you get compensation after an accident? Here are a few steps you can take to protect your injury claim after an Atlanta car accident.
Check for Injuries and Seek Immediate Medical Treatment
Inspect yourself and your passengers for any injuries, and get medical attention for your injuries as soon as possible. No matter how minor your injuries may seem or if you think you are fine, you should still seek medical treatment to make sure that there are no internal injuries.
An accident can cause the effects of adrenaline to mask injury symptoms. So it is possible to feel fine at first but then have symptoms hours (or even days) later. Additionally, some injuries may not be noticed for days or even weeks, such as whiplash or traumatic brain injury.
See a doctor as soon as possible after an accident. If you have suffered severe injuries, you need to go to the ER immediately. Even if someone does not have health insurance, an emergency room does not turn away an injured victim.
Primary care physicians and urgent care clinics are other good options.
The longer you wait to see a physician, the more likely you will suffer health problems, and your compensation claim may suffer. In many cases, insurance companies use a delay in treatment to say that you're not really injured.
Call the Police
You should call the police and report the crash. You need a police report to establish liability. Without an official police report, both parties rely on their own word.
The police do not necessarily have the final say on who is at fault in a crash. The court ultimately is responsible for this if the parties and insurers cannot agree.
According to Georgia's comparative fault law, more fault can be assigned to the other driver if proven in court. So even though proving fault can be difficult, you can save thousands of dollars by accurately determining the responsible party.
Also, never admit fault to the police, and don't speculate about things you don't know for sure. Instead, simply answer their questions and let them document the incident. Finally, it's essential that you keep a copy of your police report for your records and that your insurer also has a copy.
Take Photos, Collect Evidence, Exchange Information
Photograph the accident scene. They can be valuable evidence when filing an injury claim. Also, write down the license plate number, drivers license details, name, address, and phone number of the driver who hit your vehicle.
Getting a picture of the other driver's insurance card is a good idea. While the officer will write down the name of the other driver's insurance company, they will not note the amount of coverage. This information may appear on the insurance card, so take pictures of both sides. Do not speak with any insurance company before meeting with a competent lawyer in Atlanta.
You should also write down the names of any witnesses and their contact information. It's possible witnesses won't stay until the police arrive, and even then, a busy officer may not speak with everyone. So if you do not record the witness's name and contact information, you could lose them forever.
Keep in mind that it may be a long time before you can see your car again if it is towed or you are transported by ambulance. So you should also remove any valuable items from your vehicle.
Do Not Admit Fault
It is crucial not to admit fault, even if you believe you were partially responsible for the accident. In a similar vein, resist the urge to apologize, as it may be twisted into an admission of guilt if taken out of context.
Factors such as speed, weather conditions, mechanical failure, and others play a role in determining fault for an accident. It is impossible to know what the other driver is doing in their car, so don't make assumptions based on what you don't know. According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 70% of car accidents are caused by unsafe driving behaviors, including distractions, texting and driving, impairment, drunk driving, or driving too fast for conditions.
Instead, let the police and insurance companies decide who was responsible for the accident. If you disagree with their determination, you should consult with a car accident lawyer in Atlanta, like Broughton Accident & Injury Lawyers, as soon as possible. Ensure that the liable party is held accountable by hiring an experienced attorney to represent your best interests.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta
When dealing with a rear-end accident case, an experienced Atlanta accident attorney like Allen Broughton can help you fully understand your legal options. In addition, car accident lawyers are experienced in gathering evidence for cases, negotiating with insurance companies, and requesting the maximum compensation after your car accident.
Unfortunately, your ordeal is not over once you leave the accident scene; it's just getting started. You will still have to worry about getting your car fixed, handling insurance companies, recovering from your injuries, etc. Here are some tips for getting started with your case after a car accident in Atlanta.
Follow Your Treatment Plan
Always follow all orders from your doctor. When doctor's orders are not followed, an insurance company could claim that your rear-end accident injury was not serious. Be sure to keep track of all your appointments and related expenses too, and try not to miss any medical appointments.
Keep Your Records and Receipts
Don't discard any receipts or documents regarding the accident. Keeping a record of every doctor's appointment, prescription, and medical bill is a good idea. It is essential to give these documents to your lawyer.
Without receipts, some expenses will be difficult to recover. However, when an experienced injury attorney handles this evidence, the at-fault party's insurance company will likely pay out.
Document Your Recovery in a Journal
In the days following the accident, keep track of all your symptoms and the challenges you face financially and physically. Keep a journal of the dates and times.
If you have to file a lawsuit, your pain journal could be crucial evidence. In addition, people often forget the details of how an injury affected their lives. Journaling helps you remember everything you experienced and missed because of the crash.
Don't Post About Your Accident or Injuries
Do not share any details about your car accident or injuries on social media. Your case's value will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries from your rear-end accident.
You should expect insurance adjusters to look for reasons to diminish your claim, and they may even take a look at your social media accounts. In other words, anything you share on social media about your accident may impact your claim.
Following a rear-end crash in Atlanta, Georgia, there is a limited time frame for pursuing compensation. For a typical personal injury claim, the victim has two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. The victim has four years to file a claim for most property damage claims.
You will most likely lose your chance to claim compensation if you do not submit your claim by the deadline. It is rare for the deadline to be extended, but it is always best to consult an Atlanta accident attorney like Broughton Accident & Injury Lawyers if you think you missed the statute of limitations for your case. In some instances, various circumstances can lengthen the statute of limitations, so every case is different. But it is best not to take a chance of missing the deadline, so call an attorney like Broughton Accident & Injury Lawyers in Atlanta, GA, right away after being rear-ended at 404-842-7700.
You might wonder, "what if I don't have medical insurance?" The emergency room cannot turn you away if you need emergency treatment after an accident. In addition, if you require additional treatment following your ER visit, you may be able to defer payment until your case has been resolved.
Emergency rooms are not allowed to turn you away, and they are equipped to run tests for internal injuries and other more severe injuries. If you don't have insurance, you can let them know that you are there due to a car accident, and they can often guide how to handle the bills. Keep in mind that you may be entitled to reimbursement of your medical expenses after the case settles.
You can also use your health insurance coverage to pay for your medical expenses before your case settles or goes to court. The first benefit is that no money has to be spent out of pocket, and you won't have to wait for a reimbursement. Second, experienced attorneys can negotiate down medical expenses at the end of the case, leaving you with more money for your settlement.
As always, listen to your body, and seek medical attention as soon as possible if you are in pain following a car accident in Atlanta.
For a free rear-end accident consultation, give Broughton Accident & Injury Lawyers a call at 404-842-7700.
Attorney Allen Broughton specializes in helping injured victims, and unlike most attorneys, his firm only handles personal injury cases. At Broughton Accident & Injury Lawyers, we have over 30 years of experience winning personal injury cases. No fee is charged unless we recover compensation for you, so you don't have to worry about another bill at this stressful time. Get in touch with us today to get your case started for free!
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