After a car accident in Georgia, there are many steps you will need to take if you hope to recover maximum compensation. One of the most tedious elements of the claims process is dealing with the insurance company.
What to Do Immediately After a Car Accident
In the immediate aftermath of your car accident in Georgia, the steps you take will be critical.
Here are the steps you should take following your Georgia car accident:
- Step 1 – Immediately following the accident move your vehicle out of traffic and into a safe location if possible. Do not leave the accident scene.
- Step 2 – Call 911 and request emergency responders and police.
- Step 3 – If you are able, document the scene. Take pictures of your injuries, the scene of the accident, and property damage.
- Step 4 – Write down your version of how the accident happened. Include important details like road conditions, your name and age, vehicle details of all cars involved, the date and time of the accident, and other information.
- Step 5 – Obtain the contact information of any witnesses and other involved parties. Georgia Motor Vehicle Code states instructions regarding the information that drivers must provide to each other after an accident. Also, make notes of any nearby homes or businesses that may have video footage of the accident.
- Step 6 – Do not wait to get checked out by healthcare providers. You might have suffered severe invisible injuries that could cause catastrophic damage if left untreated. Furthermore, medical documentation is important when dealing with the insurance company.
- Step 7 – Report your accident to the insurance company, but not before retaining an attorney. Insurance companies are known to take advantage of car accident victims.
The aftermath of a car accident can be overwhelming. If you do your best to remain calm and seek medical attention, you can protect your right to financial compensation and build a robust case.
How Insurance Claims Work After Car Accidents in Georgia
Georgia is a fault state for car accidents and insurance purposes. This means that after your car accident, you need to file a claim with the liable party. When you initially file your claim, the insurance adjuster will be responsible for investigating and handling your claim. Some of their responsibilities could include:
- Analyzing police reports
- Visiting the accident scene
- Obtaining statements from accident witnesses and other involved parties
- Having your car inspected for damage
- Reviewing your medical records
- Speaking with your healthcare providers
- Scrutinizing your social media accounts
- Requesting a statement from you
Insurance companies look for chances to reduce your compensation wherever possible. If they can get away with paying you less than you deserve, that is a win for the insurance company. Of course, this should not be something you have to deal with.
Your car accident lawyer in Georgia is aware of the unscrupulous tactics of insurance companies. When you have your lawyer step in and handle communications with the insurance company on your behalf, you can rest easier knowing the insurance company will take your case seriously.
Key Car Insurance Claim Terms You Need to Know
The type and amount of insurance coverage the liable party has directly impacted the amount of compensation you can be awarded from their insurance provider. You must understand the different types of insurance coverage to better prepare yourself for what will be covered and what won’t.
These key car insurance claim terms are as follows:
- Bodily injury liability coverage – This coverage is designed to protect the driver if they are found guilty of hitting someone or causing physical bodily harm. Bodily injury liability insurance coverage often provides compensation for medical expenses and, in some cases, lost wages.
- Property damage liability coverage – This coverage is designed to protect drivers guilty of causing property damage in a collision. Property damage liability coverage often compensates for any personal property damage and vehicle repair costs.
- Collision – Collision is generally an optional provision unless you lease or finance your vehicle. Collision protects the victim’s car damage that is caused by a physical crash into an object or another car.
- Comprehensive – Comprehensive is also optional unless you lease or finance your vehicle. Comprehensive provides compensation for car damage caused by poor weather conditions, vandalism, theft, fire, and other miscellaneous dangers.
- Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay) – Med pay coverage is optional protection that you may be able to purchase as part of your own auto insurance policy. It allows you to file a claim with your own auto insurance company without regard to fault for the accident and the med pay will pay your medical bills up to the amount of coverage you purchased. Med pay is basically like health insurance for you and others in your car.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) – UM coverage pays damages caused by an “uninsured motorist.” In Georgia, an uninsured motorist includes situations where the at-fault driver has no insurance, or not enough insurance. It also covers collisions involving hit and run drivers. Even if the at-fault driver has liability insurance, it may not be enough to pay all your damages. This is why UM coverage is so important.
How to Handle the Insurance Company
To avoid being taken advantage of during your most significant time of need, you need to handle the insurance company with caution. The insurance adjuster will likely ask you to give them a statement, make you a fast offer, or request you to sign authorization forms.
However, you should never agree to these requests unless you have reviewed them in detail with your car accident lawyer in Georgia. Any information you provide to the insurance company will be used against you. By having your lawyer handle your claim, you can avoid money-hungry insurance companies making you a victim twice.
Car Insurance Claim Complications to Prepare For
Now that you know filing your car insurance claim is not going to be easy, there are specific complications that you may need to be prepared for. The insurance company might try to stall the payout of your benefits only to make you a low offer in hopes that you accept less than you deserve. They also might deny your claim in bad faith or attempt to deny you coverage of certain benefits you would otherwise be entitled to.
After having reviewed the specific details of your case, your car accident lawyer in Georgia can get a better idea of how the insurance company might attempt to take advantage of you. Further, they will fight back when your Insurance settlement is stalled or denied.
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Georgia Car Insurance Claims FAQ
You may have many unanswered questions surrounding Georgia’s car insurance claims process. In hopes of helping you get through these difficult times, here are some answers to the top questions our clients have had.
If you have additional questions that were not answered on this page, make sure to contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.
What if the Other Driver Doesn’t Have Auto Insurance?
When the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you could file a claim with your own insurance company if you have UM coverage. An experienced car accident attorney can walk you through the process and handle the insurance claims process for you.
How Long Do I Have to File a Car Accident Insurance Claim?
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Georgia is generally two years under O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Insurance companies also will require your claim to be filed before the personal injury statute of limitations runs out. You will lose your chance to pursue compensation through the Georgia civil court system if you do not settle your claim or file a lawsuit before the deadline.
What is Gap Insurance?
Gap insurance is a type of auto insurance designed to protect someone financing their vehicle. If your car is totaled, you may still owe more on your loan than the car is worth. With gap insurance, the insurance company covers the difference between your insurance payment and the remaining balance on your car loan.
Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Georgia Today
The Georgia car insurance claims process can be overwhelming. But you do not have to go through it alone. Get help from an experienced Georgia car accident lawyer at The Champion Firm.