This article is addressed to those who have been seriously injured in a Georgia automobile accident and have not yet retained an experienced injury lawyer. The single most important action you can take to protect your legal rights and to make sure you recover all that you are entitled to is: consult with an experienced Georgia accident lawyer as soon as possible. A good quality injury lawyer always earns his or her fee by strengthening your case and maximizing your recovery. In addition, the following may be helpful:
1. BE VERY CAREFUL ABOUT WHO YOU TALK TO
DON’T talk about your injuries or the accident with the other party’s insurance adjusters or lawyers, even if they tell you they are appraising the damage to your automobile. I urge you to not talk to anyone about the accident, until after you have consulted with a qualified Georgia injury lawyer. You are required to talk to your own insurance company, but your lawyer is entitled to be present. Many times, insurance companies try to twist statements you make into admissions against your interest. These admissions hurt your case because they are taken out of context or because the statement is blown out of proportion. As a general rule, the less communications you have with the other party’s insurance company until you have obtained quality legal counsel, the better.
2. POLICE REPORT / WITNESSES
DO obtain a copy of the police report as quickly as possible and provide it to your lawyer. If you know of any witnesses to the accident, write their name, address and telephone numbers down and provide your lawyer with a copy as soon as possible. Many times, the facts of the accident (i.e., who caused the wreck) are disputed by the drivers involved. I cannot tell you how many times our case was proven by the testimony of an independent witness who testified that the other party caused the wreck. Not only does this prove your case, it also tends to show the jury who the honest and deserving party is (you!). There is a certain sense of urgency to this because, as time goes by, memories fade, witnesses move and cannot be easily located, and people become less inclined to help. It is important to conduct a thorough investigation and to get sworn statements from all important witnesses.
3. DIARY OF PROBLEMS
DO keep a diary of problems that you confront because of the injuries you suffered in the car wreck. Write down when you are experiencing pain and suffering, activities that you are not able to perform or are able to perform, but must do so with pain and other problems. Serious injuries usually result in large amounts of damages in the form of medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, disfigurement, future medical bills, and a diminished quality of life. In addition, the spouse of an injured person is entitled to be fully compensated for their “loss of consortium” which is the loss that occurs when a spouse is injured and the other spouse loses their companionship, services, and marital relations. So, it is important to document what you are suffering from and how it is affecting your life.
4. LOST WAGES
DO document your lost wages. In Georgia, you are entitled to be fully compensated for you injuries. This includes compensation for lost wages (both past and future), Be certain that you have the name and addresses of all employers from which you lost wages due to the accident. If you are self-employed, obtain records that will show your wage loss. Keep an accurate record of all days lost from work due to the accident and/or your injuries.
5. DAMAGE TO YOUR AUTO AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
DO take pictures of all damages to your car, and to the other car(s) involved in the wreck. This is very important! Err on the side of caution and take a lot of pictures to ensure that you capture the full visual impact of the damage to the vehicles.
6. DOCTOR VISITS
DO follow your doctor’s advice and undergo the recommended treatments. The most important thing is for you to get well and to hopefully fully recover from your injuries. Therefore, continue being treated by your doctor and subsequent doctors that you are referred to until you are well. This is equally applicable to any physical therapy to which you have been referred. Many times, physical therapy is a long and tedious process. However, you must complete the program to reap the benefits. If you are patient and follow the program, most times your condition improves. Remember, the most important concern is your health and recovery.
7. HOSPITAL, MEDICAL AND DRUG BILLS
DO obtain and keep receipts and records of all these expenses.
8. PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
DO keep all physical evidence until your case is finalized. If your injury requires a cast, brace, traction, or other apparatus, save it and bring it and give it to your lawyer when you no longer need it.
9. TRAFFIC COURT
DO show up and testify at traffic court. If you receive notice of a traffic court date for the other driver(s), attend and testify regarding who was at fault. If you receive a subpoena, you must attend. Many times a guilty conviction can be used against the other party at the trial of your case.
DO take photographs of your injuries. Please take photos of any physical injuries you have and of all property damage. Err on the side of caution and take more pictures than you think is necessary to allow the pictures to show the damage.
11. CONSULT AN EPXPERIENCED GEORGIA INJURY LAWYER WITH QUESTIONS
DO consult with an experienced and successful Georgia injury lawyer about your case. Personal injury litigation often involves high stakes. DO NOT take anything for granted. Know your rights and know what you are entitled to under Georgia law. If you have hired an experienced and successful Georgia injury lawyer, he or she is there for you. I do not know of any good quality Georgia injury lawyer who is not there for their client as often as is needed. You and your lawyer are in this together. Lean on your lawyer for advice and guidance. That is what your lawyer is there for. If you are not sure of something, call.
Robert J. Fleming, works hard to get you all that you are entitled to under Georgia law, not just want the insurance company wants to pay.
If you would like to discuss your case with us, please call Robert J. Fleming, at (404) 525-5150 or contact us online. We are here to help.