Getting Georgia insurance company to offer a fair settlement for your car accident is a long process. If the insurance company offers a quick settlement, odds are they’re offering pennies on the dollar. The first step to getting a fair settlement is making sure you have an experienced personal injury attorney.
Below are some additional tips to help you navigate the injury claim process:
1. Collect all the evidence. Even if you were involved in a simple rear-end crash it is important to have as much information about the crash as possible. Witness statements, police reports, insurance policy information, video footage from nearby business, medical records, photographs of the intersection and cars are all pieces to the puzzle that show the insurance injury adjuster that you mean business when it comes to submitting a settlement demand package.
You can help your attorney resolve the claim quickly by providing some of the basic information above. However, if you were seriously injured in a crash, odds are you weren’t taking “selfies” with your iPhone right after the crash or talking with witnesses. This is why it is very important to contact an attorney right away. By providing your attorney with a simple crash report number allows your attorney to immediately starting collecting important information. Your attorney should have the contact info of a potential witnesses and pictures of the cars involved. If your attorney sends you out to collect these items yourself, this is a good clue that you aren’t working with the right attorney.
2. Take lots of pictures. Everyone’s cell phone comes equipped with a camera. If you can, after your accident take pictures of everything. This includes your car, the car that hit you, the accident scene, and your injuries.
3. Don’t give out your medical or injury info. You will likely get calls from your insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Do not give them your medical records to the insurance company. Don’t give a recording statement without talking with your attorney first. Don’t sign a release for the at fault party’s insurance company!
4. Don’t let an insurance adjuster pressure you into settling your case. Insurance adjusters use all kinds of tactics to try and get you to settle your case for the least amount of money possible. Like all businesses or corporations, insurance companies are in the business of making and saving money. -Not paying injured claimants. Insurance adjusters are often polite and can sometimes get you to admit that the accident was partly your fault. Or even worse, adjusters will look your injuries and claim that they are “pre-existing” medical conditions they aren’t responsible for! Insurance adjusters are under all kinds of pressure to settle quickly. Don’t take the bait. Again, it’s a good idea to simply refer the adjuster to your attorney.
5. Keep a diary of your injuries. It’s important to keep a daily journal about your injuries and how they are healing. Equally as important is to keep notes of how your injuries have affected your life. Keeping an injury journal will help back up your claim for damages.
6. Keep track of all your bills and costs related to the crash. Damages include your cost of medical treatment, pain and suffering from your injuries, loss of income for time off work, loss of business, cost of a rental car, cost of fixing your car, cost of hiring help around your house, cost of any counseling required for stress, and any other money you’ve had to pay out as a result of your injury. Make sure you save all your doctor bills, hospital bills, pharmacy bills, and any other bills you incurred.
7. Get medical treatment right away. Insurance companies place a great amount of weight on emergency medical treatment. Don’t wait and assume that your body will heal properly on its own. Medical care is expensive. If you don’t have health insurance, it can be difficult to get the proper medical care you need. A good personal injury lawyer will have contacts with medical providers that can help you get the treatment you need and bill you later. Perhaps this is the most important reason to contact a personal injury lawyer right after a car crash.
8. Hire an attorney right away. Resist the temptation of being “penny wise and pound foolish.” Often people are hesitant to contact an attorney for fear that it will cost too much or they don’t want an attorney to take a percentage of their settlement. Studies have shown that even after paying a percentage of the settlement to an attorney the client still comes out ahead with more money that if they had settled on their own. This is for several reasons. For example, the fear of filing a personal injury lawsuit and knowing how to present a case in court makes insurance companies pay attention. Also, an attorney can often negotiate and reduce outstanding medical bills. This puts more money in your pocket.
Hiring an attorney immediately can help alleviate the stress of the injury claim process. An experienced attorney can help evaluate your case and can help the process run smoothly for you. Your attorney can also speak with all bill collectors and insurance company representatives on your behalf so you can focus on getting treatment and getting better.
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