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Car Crash Collision in Urban Street

Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident

the Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC July 27, 2023

Using a formula established by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which estimates the economic costs of all traffic accidents—medical care, lost productivity, legal and court costs, insurance administrative costs, workplace costs, congestion impacts (travel delay, excess fuel consumption and pollution), emergency services, and property damage—fatal and serious car crashes in Georgia in 2022 resulted in $104 billion in societal harm. 

A traffic accident can occur at any time. You can be driving to work, or going out to do some shopping on a weekend morning, and suddenly you’re struck by another vehicle. Property damage and/or injuries can result. What you do, or don’t do, following an accident can have a huge impact on any insurance claim you may have, or on the potential for any lawsuit you may file against the at-fault driver. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia, or in the surrounding areas, including Dunwoody and Alexandria, contact The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC. Attorney Walter Gabriel will aggressively pursue the just compensation due you through the entire settlement process, taking matters to court if need be. He is a relentless advocate for your rights as a victim of someone else’s negligence.  

Common Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident 

Many people involved in car accidents tend to take them too matter-of-factly, or just don’t realize the seriousness of what happened, and then fail to take the steps necessary not only to adhere to the rules of the road but also to make sure that their safety, well-being, and proof of who’s liable are given a high priority. Here are some of the don’ts that our law firm has encountered among clients seeking compensation for injuries and damages sustained in a car accident:

Not seeking medical help right away: You may not feel any pain or injuries immediately following a car accident, but that doesn’t mean you’re home-free. An adrenaline rush can mask symptoms for hours or even days. Some injuries, by nature, may not even surface until later. For your own safety and health, you need to get examined immediately following a car accident. This is also essential if you need to file an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. You will need the evaluation, and subsequent medical expenses, to pursue your claim or lawsuit.

Not calling police to the scene of the accident: Georgia law encourages and Department of Public Safety policy requires notification of a crash if it involves more than $500 in property damage or any injury. Police will come and investigate. You can thereafter request a copy of the investigative report filed to help in your claim or lawsuit.

Admitting guilt: At no point when police arrive to investigate, or later when an insurance claims adjuster is questioning you, do you want to admit any part of the fault in the accident. Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if an insurance adjuster or a jury determines you were more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, you are ineligible to collect from the other party. One slip of the tongue and your settlement/jury award can become toast. Also, your settlement/award can be reduced by your amount of fault. If you’re assigned 30 percent of the fault for being rear-ended because you admitted your brake lights didn’t work, your $50,000 can become $35,000 quickly.

Not gathering information and statements at the scene: After the crash occurs and so long as you’re physically capable, you need to gather as much information at the scene as possible. Of course, you need to get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, but you also need to take pictures or videos of the scene using your cellphone. If there are witnesses, you need to get their statements and contact information. As soon as possible after the accident, write down or record everything as you remember it. An insurance claim or lawsuit is going to depend heavily on the evidence you can present. 

Waiting too long to report the accident to your insurance company: Automobile insurance policies have clauses requiring prompt reporting. You should call in your claim as soon as possible, like the same or next day, not two weeks later. At the same time, however, you should contact an experienced car accident/personal injury attorney to undertake the insurance negotiations or potential lawsuit on your behalf. 

Giving a recorded statement to the insurance company: Actually, you should avoid the insurance claims adjuster assigned to your case entirely. That person will try to get you into a conversation during which they can get you to admit part of the fault, perhaps even all of the fault. Rely on your attorney to deal with the insurer. Whatever you do, don’t agree to a recorded conversation.

Accepting the first offer from the insurance company: If you follow the above advice, your attorney will be negotiating for you, but if you start out on your own, rest assured that the insurance company will lowball any first offer they give you. Don’t accept it. Get an attorney. 

Not hiring a personal injury/car accident attorney: For optimal results in compensation for your personal injury and other losses and damages, don’t go it alone. You need an experienced attorney to handle everything for you. Statistics show that using an attorney results in a settlement that is two or three times higher than what you can get on your own, and this doesn’t even represent what a lawsuit might result in. 

Helping You Fight for Your Rights 

You’ve read the don’ts, but remember that the biggest “do” is to find an experienced car accident/personal injury attorney, who can press your case for the just compensation due you.  

In the Atlanta area and surrounding communities, reach out to The Law Firm of Walter Gabriel, LLC. Attorney Walter Gabriel will fight for your rights and the best result possible, even if it means going to court.