Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | January 17, 2019
Almost 61,000 car accidents took place in a recent year in Fulton County, home to Atlanta, leaving almost 13,000 injured. These car accidents often have devastating consequences—especially for the families of the 129 who died—leaving you struggling with mountains of bills and debilitating injuries. Insurance payouts can help, but only if you understand how to begin working through the auto insurance claim process. Obtaining the maximum compensation from insurance companies can present challenges, but taking the two steps discussed below can often help speed the process and preserve your rights.
Step One: Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have car insurance, one of your first steps after an accident should be to contact your own auto insurance company. You likely have an obligation to let your insurance company know that an accident has happened. This allows your insurance company to open a claim file. In some cases, your insurance company may write you a check for property damage or even personal injury immediately after the accident (and then seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company for the amount of that check). In many cases, this can help get you back in your vehicle faster.
But, beware. When you speak with your insurance company, there are several things you should avoid saying. First and foremost, avoid any admission of guilt in the events leading up to or surrounding the accident. You don’t want to shift liability to yourself by mistake. Second, avoid making any statement that you feel “okay” or that you’re “doing fine.” Even after a minor car accident, injuries may show up later that significantly impact your quality of life. You don’t want to go on record as saying that you’re fine, only to discover later that you have serious injuries.
Step Two: Contact an Attorney
Calling a lawyer as soon as possible can help you recover maximum compensation from insurance companies, especially if you do not receive an offer of adequate compensation for your injuries through your own or the other driver’s insurance company. It’s understandable to think you don’t need a lawyer if the accident was only a minor fender-bender and no one got injured, and that may be true. But, keep in mind that some injuries can take a while to appear. Of course, if you have suffered injuries, then contacting an attorney can have several advantages.
- You’ll get a better idea of how much compensation you should receive for your injuries. Sometimes, insurance companies may try to issue a low settlement in an effort to decrease their financial exposure. By working with an experienced attorney who has seen hundreds of accidents and insurance payouts, you’ll get a better idea of exactly how much compensation you should receive for your injuries.
- You’ll have someone to communicate with insurance companies for you. Not only does this take some of the stress off of your shoulders as you recover from the accident, you’ll have someone who can help prevent a misstep in these communications.
- You may increase your compensation amount. In many cases, working with an attorney can significantly increase the compensation you receive by identifying types of injuries and harm you might not have thought of, and other parties who may be liable to you.
Do You Need an Auto Accident Attorney?
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