Georgia Personal Injury Trial Attorneys

How Insurance Companies Handle Car Accident Claims

By: Fry | Goehring

car accident claims

If you own a motor vehicle in Georgia, you probably pay monthly insurance premiums for that car. Georgia requires all drivers to have a minimum auto insurance coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Georgia law also requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 in property damage liability per incident. However, the specifics of your auto policy may not seem particularly important or come into scrutiny until you are involved in a car accident.

If an insurance company pays your car accident claim, you should expect a check covering your accident-related damages in the mail. However, even if you have a valid personal injury claim, there is no guarantee that the insurance carrier will immediately cover your losses. In most cases, you need the help of an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer who can protect your rights as they negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf.

Hiring a reputable auto accident attorney is essential when dealing with insurance companies. While most personal injury claims revolve around settlement talks, many injured victims remain clueless about the actual value of their car accident claims. Insurers, who at this point wield an unfair advantage, usually offer swift settlements that cover the least amount of accident-related damages.

In the event you or your loved ones are hurt in an Atlanta car wreck, your attorney can develop a thought-through plan to guide you through the claims and recovery process. At Fry | Goehring, our auto accident lawyers can help you get compensation that covers all your accident-related damages and injuries. But before that, knowing what to do after a car accident is crucial to strengthening your personal injury case.

What To Do Immediately After a Car Accident

Here’s what to do after a car accident in Atlanta or anywhere else in Georgia:

1. Don’t Leave the Scene

If you have been involved in an accident, don’t leave the scene, regardless of where you were headed. You risk facing hit-and-run charges if you leave the scene before law enforcement officers arrive.

2. Stay Calm and Check for Injuries

Take a deep breath, and don’t panic. Figure out whether you, your passengers, other drivers, or pedestrians are injured. It is important to note that you should never provide assistance beyond your training. Unless someone is facing imminent danger, such as being stuck in a vehicle that’s about to burst into flames, don’t move any injured people.

3. Call 911

Dial 911 and wait for the police to arrive. The 911 operator will contact local law enforcement agencies, such as the Atlanta PD or Georgia State Patrol, to respond to the incident. Once the police arrive at the scene, they will interview all involved parties and prepare a police report that can help establish the cause of the accident and prove liability.

4. Seek Medical Attention

Once first responders arrive at the scene, seek immediate medical attention. Let the EMTs ascertain whether you need to go to the hospital. Your health should be your primary concern. Even if the EMTs at the scene clear you, it’s advisable to visit your doctor for a comprehensive assessment. Keep in mind that some injuries, such as concussions, may not be immediately apparent after an accident.

5. Exchange Insurance and Contact Information

If you are involved in an auto wreck with another party(s), keep conversations to a minimum. Simply exchange information that includes:

  • The driver’s name
  • The driver’s license number
  • The driver’s contact details
  • The driver’s address
  • The driver’s insurance details
  • The vehicle’s license plate number
  • The vehicle’s make and model

If any witnesses are at the scene, get their names, addresses, and contact information. Your Atlanta car accident lawyer may need their testimonies to prove the defendant’s liability.

6. Take Pictures and Videos

If you can move around safely, use your phone or camera to take pictures and videos of the scene. If you aren’t able to, let someone else take the photos. Capture visible vehicle damage, buildings, obstacles such as lamp posts, the sidewalk, skid marks, weather and road conditions, and any debris at the scene.

7. Notify Your Car Insurance Company

Many insurance companies require policyholders to report car accidents within a specific time frame, regardless of who was at fault. For this reason, it’s best to contact your insurance representative immediately. However, watch what you say to your insurer, and don’t admit fault for the car accident.

8. Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

If you have sustained severe injuries in an accident or lost a loved one after a horrific crash, consider talking to the skilled lawyers at Fry | Goehring. Our Atlanta legal team is ready to gather and analyze evidence, determine what caused your accident, prove fault, and help you secure the best possible compensation for your damages.

Filing a Claim With Your Insurance Company

Georgia is an at-fault state when it comes to handling personal injury claims. This means at-fault parties are responsible for damages such as medical bills in car accident claims. When you and your lawyer file an insurance claim, the defendant’s insurance adjuster will investigate and handle your case. The insurance company may require an accident report and supporting documentation, such as medical records and vehicle repair costs, during this stage. Once they complete their investigations, they may offer a settlement offer or dispute liability for the accident.

If the insurance company denies the claim, you and your car wreck lawyer in Atlanta may file an appeal or take your case to court.

Drivers in Georgia also have other options, such as MedPay and Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist policies, that they may turn to after accidents. Under MedPay coverage, you can file a claim with your insurer, which may cover your medical bills, regardless of fault. UM/UIM coverage, on the other hand, covers your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage if you are hit by an uninsured driver or a driver who doesn’t have enough coverage.

If you are a victim of a hit-and-run incident, your uninsured coverage can cover compensation for accident-related damages.

Negotiating With the Insurance Company

In some cases, negotiating with an insurance provider can be pretty straightforward. This is particularly true if you have sustained minor flesh injuries, such as cuts or bruises, and minimal property damage in fender benders.

However, this isn’t always the case in most personal injury claims. Once you send a demand letter, the insurer may argue that your demand is too high or make a counteroffer. If you don’t accept their offer, you can counter-demand it and seek more compensation.

Some of the tips to keep in mind when negotiating with an insurance company include:

  • Initiate your car accident claim as soon as possible
  • Keep a record of your accident and injuries
  • Send a detailed demand letter with relevant documentation for your economic damages
  • Get everything in writing, including correspondence with the insurer

During settlement talks, some of these numbers can be difficult to quantify. It may be challenging for you to know how much you should accept from the defendant’s insurance company. A rule of thumb during settlement talks is never to accept the first settlement offer. Why? In most cases, the first offers that insurance companies offer for car accident claims are usually unreasonably low. This is why you need an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney to help you accurately evaluate your damages and pursue fair compensation.

Common Mistakes To Avoid After an Atlanta Car Accident

The last thing you want to do after a car accident in Atlanta is ruin your chances of recovering compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. In many cases, the actions that accident victims take in the moments after an accident can affect their ability to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

Here are some common mistakes after a car accident in Atlanta, GA, that can make the difference between receiving fair compensation for your injuries or receiving nothing:

  • Not calling the police
  • Leaving the accident scene before the police arrive
  • Admitting fault
  • Disregarding medical care
  • Posting on social media platforms
  • Not reporting the accident to your insurer
  • Not following your doctor’s orders
  • Not tracking your accident-related expenses
  • Losing accident documents
  • Giving recorded statements
  • Accepting the first settlement offer
  • Handling the personal injury claim without legal representation
  • Concealing relevant details from your attorney
  • Waiting too long to file a Georgia car accident claim

Car accidents can be confusing and traumatizing events that may force victims to make hasty decisions that harm their claims. It’s advisable to have an experienced attorney by your side who will guide you throughout the process, ensuring you don’t say or do anything that devalues your case.

Partner With Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers When Dealing With Insurance Companies

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an auto accident in Atlanta due to another driver’s negligence, Fry | Goehring can help you negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf for the best settlement that covers all your damages. Our legal team has the experience and resources to go up against insurance companies, ensuring they write a check that pays for your medical bills and all other losses. Call 404-969-1284 today to book your free case review. We are here to help.