Being in a major car accident in Georgia can be devastating for both the victims and their loved ones. Aside from the pain and suffering caused by any injuries sustained, a family must pick up the financial pieces left behind by a serious wreck. Oftentimes, insurance companies will not offer a fair settlement that provides a family with the funds they need. Medical bills can begin to pile up– especially if you had to take time off work. If you’re in this situation, you deserve to know that you have legal options. Hiring an Atlanta car accident lawyer may let your family recover from a tragedy that shouldn’t have occurred to begin with.
It’s a simple truth that most car crashes happen due to human error. When a driver gets behind the wheel after they’ve had a few too many drinks or spends more time talking with a friend or browsing a music playlist than paying attention to the road, an accident can happen in the blink of an eye. We spend so much time in the driver’s seat in this country, it’s understandable that we often look at the task of driving as something simplistic, routine, and ideal for multitasking. Except for one fact—mistakes made when driving can result in dire consequences including serious injuries, trauma, and even death.
If we’re injured in a crash with a driver who may have been drunk, speeding, distracted, careless, or disobeying the rules of traffic, the U.S. civil court system lets victims of accidents file an injury claim against that guilty driver. These claims are referred to as personal injury lawsuits. Civil lawsuits can be filed in addition to any criminal charges which may already be in place and act as a way for victims to receive extra compensation that can go towards medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering costs, and more.
In addition, filing an injury claim sends a message that an intoxicated or reckless driver can’t ignore. Negligent drivers who are sued for wrongful actions are likely to remember to drive responsibly in the future. All drivers have a legal duty to drive a vehicle responsibly. Lawsuits help ensure careless drivers never forget that.
Bey & Associates Helps Car Accident Victims
Our lawyers will fight for car accident victims to get the justice they deserve. We fight for their compensation and to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. Car accident cases can be complex and extensive. The following areas all apply to car accident claims and having a car accident lawyer at your side:
- Types of Car Accidents in Atlanta
- Examining the Causes of Atlanta Car Crashes
- Common Car Accident Injuries
- Financial Damages You May Be Entitled to Recover
- Georgia Auto Insurance Laws
- What to Do After a Georgia Car Wreck
- Why Seek an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Help?
- How Using Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Claim
- Seeking the Right Lawyer for You
- Common Myths About Personal Injury Lawyers and Claims
- Settling Your Case Vs. Going to Court
- The Dangers of Returning to Work Too Early
- Recover with the Help of an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
Our lawyers are passionate about helping our clients. Bey & Associates is ready to provide their legal expertise to those who have been injured because of the reckless actions of another party. Before learning more about how we can help you, let’s start with the kinds of car accidents that occur in the state and why they happen.
Types of Car Accidents in Atlanta
There are a wide variety of auto collisions that occur in Georgia and around the metro Atlanta area. They involve vehicles of all types including passenger cars, commercial trucks, motorcycles, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Some types of accidents tend to result in more devastation than others. It’s important to know the type of auto accident and the details surrounding the crash for your car accident claim. Here are some of the most common types of vehicle accidents we see in and around Atlanta:
Multiple Vehicle Accident. When more than two cars are involved in a collision, we sometimes refer to the crash as a multi-vehicle accident or MVA. When one driver makes a mistake behind the wheel and crashes into another vehicle, this can cause a chain reaction where multiple cars collide into one another. MVAs can be extremely devastating due to the fact that drivers and passengers in multiple cars may be injured.
Single Vehicle Crash. When a car collides into an inanimate object such as a wall, tree, building, or pedestrian, we refer to accidents like this as single-vehicle accidents. These types of crashes tend to be minor, but if a pedestrian is involved, it can potentially become series or even result in death.
Rear-End Collision. This is the most common type of car accident and results when a driver is tailgating, distracted, driving too quickly, or cannot stop in time to avoid hitting the vehicle in front of them. The injuries sustained by both parties will vary depending on the force of the accident’s impact.
Head-On Crash. Head-on car accidents tend to be serious in nature and occur when two or more vehicles collide into one another while facing each other. These crashes can happen at intersections or when a driver loses control of their vehicle. Injuries sustained in head-on crashes tend to be severe unless the windshield or car engine absorbs most of the force of the initial impact.
Side Wreck. These types of accidents are also extremely common and tend to happen at intersections, during lane changes, or when a driver loses control of their vehicle and crashes into the side of another car. Side collisions often result in serious injuries due to the fact that the victims are hit with the full force of the impact instead of the vehicle’s engine or trunk being impacted.
Side Swipe. When one car misjudges a turn or tries to change lanes at the last second, they might avoid a major accident but allow their vehicle to scrape the side of another car. This is often referred to as a “side swipe”. Side swipes often result in minor injuries but can cause significant body damage to a vehicle.
Parking Lot Accident. If a driver fails to look around them when backing out of a parking spot or accidentally crashes into a vehicle behind them when trying to parallel park, we refer to these accidents– typically minor– as parking lot accidents. Most injuries sustained will be minor, but the collisions themselves still need to be reported.
Examining the Causes of Atlanta Car Crashes
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 1,507 individuals died in car accidents in the state of Georgia in 2019. That comes out to about 4 deaths every single day. Approximately 76% of the fatal crashes were caused by unsafe driving behaviors. Seat belt use also played a role in whether or not the crash was fatal. 60% of victims either weren’t wearing a seat belt, or it was unknown if they wore their seat belt. Pedestrian deaths accounted for 16% of fatalities.
In an article published in late 2015 by Vox (using data from the National Highway Traffic Association), it was reported that Georgia has the deadliest interstate highway in all of the United States. If you reside in Georgia, you can likely guess what interstate that is. It’s I-285 that circles right around Atlanta. In 2013, 26 fatal car accidents occurred on I-285 compared to the 1,085 total accidents that happened throughout the state. This amounts to approximately 3.5 accidents per 10 miles of interstate.
It may seem incredulous to believe, but the numbers don’t lie. Georgia had more interstate deaths than states like California and Texas.
So, what causes these terrible car accidents? Here are some of the most common causes of car crashes in the state of Georgia:
- Driving Too Fast or Slow. Driving too quickly can make it difficult to stop in time or for other vehicles to stop in time should fast reaction times become necessary. Taking turns at high speeds also increase the chances of losing control of the vehicle. However, maintaining a speed well below the limit and the flow of traffic also poses a danger to others on the road. Both these instances are generally cases of negligence or recklessness.
- Driving Under the Influence. Drug and alcohol impairment continue to be a major cause of car accidents despite laws that give impaired drivers harsher penalties. In 2013, for example, 297 of Georgia’s accident fatalities were caused by drunk drivers. This is just over 25% of all accident fatalities.
- Fatigued Driving. When drivers are behind the wheel early in the morning, late at night, or have been driving for multiple hours, they may find themselves getting drowsy. Many people may think that drinking caffeine, rolling down the window, or turning up the radio can help them stay awake. These methods will not make a fatigued driver a safer driver. Fatigued drivers are less alert, have reduced judgment and reaction time, and are also at risk of veering out of their lane or falling asleep at the wheel.
- Failing to Signal When Making Turns. When other vehicles aren’t aware of your intentions, it can make it difficult for drivers to know what to expect. This is also a case of negligent driving.
- Disregarding Traffic Conditions or Weather. Similar to failing to properly signal, disregarding traffic conditions or poor weather can quickly lead to an accident. A driver who fails to notice a potentially hazardous situation may be charged with negligence in court. It’s also important to adjust driving to the current road conditions. If it’s raining, snowing, or the road is covered in ice, drivers should slow down and remain alert. Going the posted speed limit may be reckless in these situations.
- Disobeying Traffic Signs or Signals. All drivers have a duty to obey posted signs and signals from other drivers. A failure to do so is defined as negligence. Rolling through a stop sign or trying to “beat” a yellow can result in terrible accidents. Other motorists or pedestrians following the traffic signs may proceed because they have the right-of-way, and the negligent driver collides with them. Driving on the wrong side of the road can also fit into this category.
- Aggressive Driving. While speeding is a sign of aggressive driving, so is following too closely and weaving through traffic. When a driver is right behind the car in front of them, they do not have time to maneuver or stop if they need to. This can easily result in a collision. Weaving through traffic is also dangerous because other drivers cannot predict movement. The aggressive driver may decide to use the right lane for passing as well. Aggressive drivers are also more prone to road rage.
- Road Rage. When a driver is angry or frustrated with another motorist, they may try to “get back” at the other driver by yelling, making a rude gesture, or cutting them off. However, the driver is now more focused on exhibiting road rage than driving safely. They could lose control of their vehicle, veer out of their lane, or hit another vehicle.
- Inexperience. New drivers may not be used to busy highways, having other people in the car, or driving at night or in other difficult conditions. Their lack of experience could cause them to not notice an issue ahead or to make a mistake that results in an accident.
- Distracted Driving. One other notable cause of car accidents is distracted driving. When a driver is distracted—whether they are texting someone, eating lunch behind the wheel, or checking their Facebook feed—they are liable to cause an accident in a fraction of a second and place everyone on the road at risk. Many drivers believe they can multitask—change the radio station, reach for something in the passenger seat, or change the music on their phone. However, this reduces the driver’s control of the vehicle and focus on the road.
- Medical Conditions. Sometimes, drivers may not be in the best condition to drive. A driver could be fighting an illness like the common cold. If they take over the counter medication, they could be drowsier and less alert than usual. It’s also important for drivers to understand that certain medical conditions can cause dangers while driving, like tunnel vision. A driver with tunnel vision will have decreased peripheral vision and may not see other vehicles. Conditions like diabetes, concussions, and certain drugs can all cause tunnel vision.
- Unaware of Blind Spots. When drivers are switching lanes, merging, or making a turn, they need to remember to check their blind spots. While the lane may seem empty, a car could be just outside of the driver’s sight. If they assume that the lane is empty, they could swerve in front of another car or collide with a car next to them. It’s a driver’s responsibility to make sure it’s safe to maneuver their vehicle. When they neglect to do this, they can cause terrible accidents.
In Georgia courtrooms, when a driver fails to pay attention to the road, follow traffic and safety laws, or follow the flow of traffic, a judge or jury can state that they are negligent. As you can tell from the bullet points above, most serious car accidents in our state are caused by negligence or reckless actions.
Under these conditions, a car accident attorney may be able to file a lawsuit against that driver. Doing so can grant the victim and their family peace of mind as well as provide them with the financial assistance they need to pay for any medical bills, loss of wage costs, and more. If you lost a loved one in an auto accident that was caused by negligence, you may be able to similarly file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased individual.
After we look into the accident cause, we’ll examine how it directly affected you. Let’s take a look at common car accident injuries and how they can put your life on hold.
Common Car Accident Injuries
A serious car wreck can cause almost an unlimited number of injuries and resulting conditions that can affect a victim’s future. It’s a simple fact that auto accidents are painful, traumatic events. The most serious injuries may require extensive therapy or surgeries, but even what may seem like a minor injury may turn out to be something more severe days or even weeks after the incident.
Some of the most common injuries sustained after an accident include the following:
- Lacerations, Bruises, and Abrasions. Broken glass, debris, and the force of the crash can cause severe cuts and bruises. If these wounds are deep enough, there could be a risk for infection.
- Amputations. A limb may become severed during the accident. In other cases, the nerve damage can be so severe that the area has to be surgically removed.
- Broken Bones or Bone Fractures. Depending on the type of accident, a collision could result in a broken bone. This may require a cast and will need to stay in place for weeks or months. A broken bone can inhibit mobility and your ability to work or perform daily tasks.
- Internal Organ Damage/Internal Bleeding. These can be life-threatening and aren’t always noticeable. If there is internal bleeding, immediate medical care is required.
- Serious Burn Injuries. In an accident, flammable liquids inside the vehicle can be disturbed and catch on fire. Anyone in the car or near the car could suffer from burn injuries.
- Neck and Back Injuries. A car collision may cause damage to the neck or even spinal cord injuries. A severe spinal cord injury could result in paralysis from below the injury site. Complete or partial loss of feeling and function could occur.
- Head and Brain Injuries. If the head is jolted or bumped, it may cause a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Brain injuries often need immediate medical care and can have permanent consequences if the damage is severe.
- Emotional Trauma. Car accidents can also have significant psychological effects. Lasting emotional damage including anxiety, depression, and even PTSD is common. While it is normal to be shaken after an auto wreck, if you find that these feelings are persisting, the issue may not go away on its own. Often, additional professional care could be needed to treat the psychological damage of the accident.
Some of the injuries above may be categorized as catastrophic. They affect your ability to work and can cause permanent damage. While some injuries may cause temporary disability that will prevent you from working for a period of time, like a broken arm, you’re still likely to completely recover. However, a catastrophic injury, like damage to the spine or brain, can cause injuries that will not completely heal.
It’s likely that these injuries will heal to a certain point, but then you’ll need to learn how to live with the injury. This could include future treatment like regular physical therapy, medication, surgical procedures, or medical equipment to help you maintain a high quality of life.
This transition is not going to be easy. You’re dealing with a major change that occurred because of someone else’s negligence. That’s why our lawyers will fight for you. While adjusting to your new routine will be difficult, you should have access to the care and resources you need to ease that transition as much as possible. When you know you’re going to get the care you need, you can focus on recovering and moving forward.
The Dangers of Whiplash
One of the most common types of car crash injuries is whiplash. Whiplash is caused when a driver or passenger is jolted forward or backward suddenly in their seat, causing the head to be pushed forward then backward (or vice versa) in a forceful manner. These forceful actions may cause damage to the fragile muscles, tendons, and vertebrae inside the neck and shoulders.
Whiplash is difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Since it often involves multiple tendons, muscles, and bones, it presents differently in every single victim. Whiplash may also appear in a “stealthed” manner. Car accident victims may not feel any head, neck, or back pain within the first hours, days, or even weeks after the crash. As the muscles and tendons in the neck begin to settle after the event, this is when the injury may finally become apparent.
Any type of car accident injury can become dangerous because when we’re involved in a traumatic event like a car wreck, our body goes into “crisis mode” in order to ensure we’re able to protect ourselves and our loved ones. Our brains begin emitting endorphins which may give us a feeling of adrenaline. The resulting adrenaline rush can mask pain or exhaustion completely, making us feel as though we’re physically and emotionally fine. In reality, however, we may not be.
It’s crucial for anyone who is involved in a car crash to get checked out by medical professionals as quickly as possible. It’s also advisable to follow through with any follow-up appointments that are provided. This ensures no new injuries make an appearance after the adrenaline wears off.
Financial Damages You May Be Entitled to Recover
If you’re eligible to file a lawsuit against a negligent or reckless driver, you may be able to receive the following financial compensation (often referred to as “damages”) that can be used to help you and your loved ones recover. Here’s a list of some of the most common types of car accident injury damages many accidents victims receive:
- Medical Expenses. This can include fees for emergency room visits, hospital care, surgery, assistive devices, and appointments with approved medical professionals.
- Ongoing Medical Expenses. You may find that your recovery will require medical care for a period of time. You’ll need the help of a skilled car accident lawyer to prove that you’ll need this ongoing care. We’ll gather evidence to show that you’ll need compensation to recover the cost of future medical expenses.
- Lost Wages/Earning Potential. Your accident and resulting injuries may be preventing you from returning to work for a while. This can be extremely stressful, especially when you cannot depend on that regular paycheck. Victims injured in car accidents may be able to recover compensation for wages lost between the time of the injury and the conclusion of the lawsuit. If the wounded victim was unemployed at the time of the accident, they might be awarded lost wages if they can demonstrate earning potential during this period.
- Property Damage. While you’re focused on your injuries and the time you’ll miss from work, you may also be thinking about the state of your car. There could be merely cosmetic damage, severe damage, or it could have been totaled. Our lawyers will fight for your compensation to include the costs of the damage your vehicle sustained.
- Punitive Damages. If the actions of the defendant were malicious or egregious, the jury might impose punitive damages, which are intended to punish the defendant and discourage similar behavior in the future.
While the above list goes over the financial damages of the accident, there are other significant effects of the crash and your injuries that don’t necessarily have a dollar amount assigned to them. Let’s go over what these damages could be.
- Pain and Suffering. The trauma of the accident and the resulting injuries have affected your life significantly. You could receive compensation for physical pain suffered as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. In awarding damages for pain and suffering, the jury will examine the nature of the injury, the extent of the pain, and the length of time the victim was left to suffer.
- Mental Anguish. Victims can also be awarded for the emotional pain suffered as a result of their car accident. Mental anguish damages compensate the victim for fright, embarrassment, nervousness, worry, grief, and other forms of emotional distress caused by the accident. Mental anguish could also result from permanent injuries such as disfigurement.
- Loss of Consortium. If a car accident lawsuit is successful, the uninjured spouse may be able to recover damages for loss of marital benefits including companionship, sexual relations, affection, and comfort.
Keeping all of these components of your compensation in mind can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s imperative to have a skilled Atlanta car accident attorney as your representative. Bey & Associates, LLC fiercely advocates for clients and we’ll do the same for you. We’re aware of the various ways a car accident can affect you and we’ll assess the full damages you’ve suffered.
As we compile evidence for your case, it may be helpful for you to know about auto insurance law in Georgia. Our lawyers are well-versed in our state’s insurance law and will know what applies to your case. Let’s go over how insurance law works in Georgia.
Georgia Auto Insurance Laws
In the state of Georgia, drivers must have insurance to cover them in case of an accident that results in injuries and other financial losses. It’s the law to have insurance to drive on public roads and highways in the state. While insurance policies may vary, there are minimum requirements a driver must have. They are as follows:
- Bodily Injury Liability. For bodily injury, the minimum is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence.
- Property Damage Liability. The minimum for property damage is $25,000 per occurrence.
You also need to include uninsured motorist insurance on your policy. This is in case you’re in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have insurance to cover the costs of the accident. This insurance will protect you for those injuries and losses.
Liability insurance will pay damages to others on the insured’s behalf, so it’s crucial to show that you were not at fault for your accident. This is why it’s important to not apologize or assign blame while at the scene.
Georgia has a comparative negligence law, which can mean both parties may be found partially at fault. If a person is no more than 49% at fault for the accident, they can seek compensation. However, this also means the other side may not be as cooperative during this process. They may try to show that you had partial fault for the accident. This can reduce the amount of compensation you can recover.
Let’s say in an accident, the other driver was speeding and hit you. However, you were texting and driving at the time. It may be that the other driver was found to be 80% at fault for the accident, but you were assigned 20% of the blame. This means that your final compensation amount could be reduced by 20%. If your compensation was $100,000, you could only recover 80% of it and would have $80,000 instead.
What to Do After a Georgia Car Wreck
You may be wondering about the steps you should take after being in a car accident. While you’ll likely be in shock, you can still provide a great deal of help. Your first priority should be to ensure everyone around you is safe. Take the following steps in as calm of a manner as possible:
- Call 911 Immediately. Having emergency services on the way will mean you and others involved in the accident will get the treatment they need. In serious cases, this could be life-saving. If you’re wondering what you should do if the injuries you sustained appear to be minor, you should still seek medical aid. You may have hidden injuries or not realize how serious your injuries are. You’ll also need to file a report with the police.
- Assist Others. While you wait for emergency services to arrive, you should assist others if you’re able. You can help someone get out of harm’s way or reassure them that help is on the way.
- Pull Over to a Safe Area. If your vehicle is in the road, it could be blocking traffic and create a bottleneck. Pull over to the side of the road if you’re able to safely move the vehicle. This way, traffic can continue. Before getting into your vehicle, look for any signs of leaking or smoke. If this is the case, do not move the vehicle and move yourself and others away from it. It could catch on fire or something could create an explosion.
- Allow Paramedics to Assess Your Injuries. As mentioned above, it’s important to get checked out by emergency personnel due to the fact that adrenaline may be masking any pain and potential injury symptoms. If you do end up discovering an injury later, delaying treatment may cause potential issues.
- Obtain Contact Information. Don’t let the other driver leave the scene of the accident without giving you their contact information or issuing a report to the police. You should also exchange insurance policies. It’s crucial at this point, however, to not mention blame at all to the other driver or talk about fault whatsoever. Anything you say now could be used against you later and this could cause frustration with the other party involved. However, it’s also important to not apologize, as this could be seen as an admission of fault.
- Speak to Police. When you’re telling your side of the story to police, stick to the facts and don’t try to fill in information if you cannot remember something. It’s okay if there are gaps in the details as accidents happen suddenly and you may not be able to register everything that happened. If you try to assign blame or fault, you may be proven wrong after the report. This could call your credibility into question and affect your claim.
- Gather Evidence. In addition to any evidence the police gather, it’s a smart idea to capture pictures on your smartphone of the accident scene, your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and of any distinguishing features about the surrounding area. You can document the damages of the crash and possible evidence from the environment. Was there a tree that possibly obscured your view of a sign? Take a picture. Are there skid marks? Take a picture– skid marks may erase completely after an evening rain. Photographs will also capture the weather and time of day—which could be crucial factors that played a part in the accident.
- Speak to Witnesses. If any witnesses are on the scene, it’s a good idea to speak to them if you’re able to do so. Ask them what they saw and if they’d be willing to give their account of what happened later if needed. If they’re willing, ask them for their contact information. Having as many witnesses as possible can be favorable.
- See Your Physician. After the car accident, it’s imperative to see your physician to get a full evaluation of your injuries. When the paramedics saw you, not all your injuries may have presented symptoms. At your appointment, tell your doctor everything. Don’t downplay or leave injuries out. You need to know the extent of your injuries so you can treat them. Ignoring certain symptoms could allow injuries to persist, as they may not heal on their own without medical help. Seeing your doctor will also show that your injuries warranted a doctor’s visit.
- Call Your Insurance Provider. You’ll want to let your insurance provider know that the accident occurred at this point. They may try and pressure you into a settlement at this time. This may not be the best choice as you do not yet know the extent of your injuries, the total of damages, and what compensation you’re entitled to. Your insurance provider may not offer a settlement that reflects the damages that you’ve suffered. Tell them that the car accident is still under investigation and plan your next move carefully.
- Speak to an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney. This is the ideal time to speak to a personal injury lawyer regarding your legal options if you feel that the accident was caused by the other driver or that your settlement offer may be unfair to you and your family. Even if the accident was partially your fault, you may still be able to file an accident claim.
Why Seek an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Help?
When you’re seeking justice, you need someone on your side who is going to protect your best interests no matter what. Considering how complex a car accident claim can be, having a lawyer on your side will be the best way for you to secure your future.
After a car accident occurs, you may hear from your insurance company before you have time to get in touch with a lawyer. An insurance adjuster from the company may contact you to get more information about the accident and to calculate your settlement. If you give them an official statement that includes information about your injuries, you may think they’re taking everything into account so you can get fair compensation for your accident. However, they will likely offer you a settlement that’s less than you deserve.
When it comes to protecting best interests, the insurance adjuster isn’t necessarily on your side. They’re trying to save the insurance company as much as possible. Unfortunately, this can result in offering you a settlement that doesn’t reflect the injuries you’ve suffered.
If the insurance adjuster contacts you quickly, you may not even have all the information they could need. It can take some time before you know the full extent of your injuries. Immediately following an accident, the stress hormones in your system can mask symptoms of your injuries. So, your car accident injuries may not become apparent until days or weeks after the incident occurred.
Reporting how you’re feeling to an insurance adjuster before you have all your medical information could mean you’ll get coverage for some injuries, but not all. If you report broken bones, but later on discover you’re having back pain as a result of another injury, you may not get coverage for that injury. This means any care or treatment you’ll need to treat that injury won’t be covered and you’ll need to pay for that care yourself.
Even if you try to explain that you weren’t aware of the injury at the time you gave the statement, the insurance company could call into question why you didn’t mention this injury at that time. They could suggest that you’re not telling the truth and that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim.
If this happens and you’re not able to get the compensation you deserve because of an early statement to the insurance company, you could be left in a financially difficult situation. It’s best to protect your future and get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible.
An Atlanta car accident lawyer from our firm will help you navigate this process. We can facilitate communication with the insurance company so they get the information they need, but without providing information that could negatively impact your case.
When we’re representing you, we’re going to take everything into account, which means taking the time to assess medical records and find out all the injuries that resulted from the accident. Once you know these injuries, you’ll have an idea of the care you’ll need, the cost of treatment, how much work you’ll miss, and how the crash will affect your life.
Our lawyers will keep these factors in mind so we can find the compensation amount that you deserve. When you have the compensation for your auto accident, you’ll be able to get the recovery that you need. Your lawyer can also warn you of other ways that the insurance company can try to give you a settlement that’s less than you deserve.
How Using Social Media Can Negatively Impact Your Claim
Nearly everyone has a social media presence online. It’s common for people to regularly update their various social accounts. These accounts can be used to give life updates, post about your day, or sometimes vent about something that’s affecting you.
It seems natural that you may want to post about your car accident. This could be used to update everyone you know that you were in a car accident but you’re okay. You may even take to your social to talk about the negligent party whose actions have caused you a great deal of stress and pain. However, your lawyer will advise you to refrain from posting anything about the collision on your social media accounts.
The information you put on these accounts can be used by the insurance company. So, if you talk about having a good day, which is a seemingly normal thing to say but doesn’t truly reflect what you’re going through, they could make the argument that you wouldn’t have a good day due to your injuries, or question how you were able to have a good day and post about it if your injuries were so severe.
If you angrily post about the other party, this will also not put you in a good light. Perhaps the other side suggests you’re vindictive or you want the claim to affect the negligent party as much as possible because you’re angry the accident occurred, not because your injuries are that severe.
Posting photos of you or of places you’ve been lately could also call the validity of your claim into question. If you’re complaining about pain and saying you cannot go into work but have photos of you with a friend or at a restaurant, the insurance company may insinuate you’re exaggerating your injuries.
To avoid these situations, you can take extra steps beyond not posting about the accident. You should set all your accounts to private. This way, you control who has access to your profile. In addition to this, you may want to consider not putting anything on social media, just in case there’s a way for the insurance company to access your profile.
While this can be difficult as it’s so common to use social media, you’re giving yourself another layer of protection and taking important steps to avoid putting your claim in jeopardy. You don’t want to end up with less compensation than you deserve because of a post you made because you were upset or angry.
If you have any questions about using social media or questions about your case, your Atlanta car accident attorney from Bey & Associates is here for you. We’re ready to address any issues or questions you have so you can feel confident in your representation and your claim.
We understand how important it is for our clients to trust that we’re going to protect their best interests and advocate for their rights no matter what. Let’s go over the signs of a trustworthy auto accident lawyer and common misconceptions people have about lawyers and the personal injury claims process.
Seeking the Right Lawyer for You
Entrusting your future to someone else can be a difficult decision. While you’re aware that a car accident attorney can help you secure your future, you may not know how to make sure your representation is right for you.
When you’re meeting with lawyers, it’s important to notice signs of reputable lawyers and lawyers that may not have your best interests in mind. Here’s a checklist of items to look for when you’re speaking with a personal injury attorney:
- Communication. Your lawyer should keep open channels of communication and be prompt with their responses. Whether it’s answering emails or phone calls, your lawyer should get back to you without you having to repeatedly contact them. You also need to take note of their face to face communication. If your lawyer is engaged, asking you questions, and maintaining a respectful demeanor, they’re taking you and your case seriously. This is a good sign of how they’ll act in the future.
- Preparedness. If your lawyer constantly reschedules or misses appointments, then you may want to consider seeking other options for lawyers. You don’t want to have representation that doesn’t show up for important appointments. It may also seem as if they’re stalling or dodging meetings, which could indicate they haven’t given your case the attention it deserves.
- Organization. Pay attention to the lawyer’s office. If files are neatly organized and the space is kept clean, then you can trust they’ll keep your important papers in order. However, if the office is in disarray, then you may want to look elsewhere. You don’t want to have to worry about your lawyer losing crucial documents for your case.
- Experience. There are many different types of lawyers. Even when you narrow it down to personal injury law, there are niche areas where certain lawyers specialize in. If you’re seeking help from a lawyer who has experience with slip and fall cases but has never handled a car accident case, you may not have the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve. If the attorney has successfully handled car accident claims before, they’re going to know the ins and outs of the legal process and will be familiar with how to best fight for you and your rights.
- Testimony. You can also get an idea of the attorney from client reviews and testimony. If the reviews reflect that the lawyer helped the client and they would recommend the lawyer to others, then this is a good sign. If they are overwhelmingly negative, you may want to continue your search. It’s important to remain critical when reading reviews. If they are mostly excellent reviews and there is one poor review but no message or the written review doesn’t seem to make sense, then it’s likely that reviewer isn’t credible.
- Attitude. A first impression can tell you a lot if you’ve found the representation for you. A lawyer who throws legal jargon around without explanation, talks over you, or doesn’t seem to treat you with respect will likely not represent your best interests. Look for a lawyer who is polite, invested, and will answer your questions or clarify points so you understand them without coming off as patronizing.
- Guarantees. If a lawyer starts guaranteeing you results from the minute you sit down to meet about your car accident, then this is a sign that they may not be the representative for you. They don’t have any of the facts and parameters of your case yet, so how could they make the guarantee that they’ll be able to get you compensation? A reputable lawyer who believes you have a valid claim will likely be cautiously optimistic. They’ll compile a strong case for you, but are also prepared for the worst, as these situations can arise.
- You Contacted Them. Unfortunately, there may be some less-than-reputable lawyers out there. However, they usually exhibit red flags like the ones discussed in the points above. You’ll also know if the lawyer doesn’t have your best interests in mind if they found you first. Lawyers who seek out those who have been injured may be called “ambulance-chasers,” and it is ethically wrong and typically not allowed. If a lawyer shows up asking to represent you and you didn’t initially contact them, then you should distance yourself from this person immediately.
You can do research and take these mental notes when you meet with lawyers. Above all, you can always trust your gut. If something seems off, even if you cannot figure out what exactly is off, then you shouldn’t trust your case to a lawyer who seems iffy to you. Likewise, if you trust a lawyer, get a good feeling from them, and they also have the experience, positive reviews, and communicate well, then you’ve likely found your representation and can proceed with your car accident claim.
We’re passionate and dedicated to providing our legal services to those who need it most. When you’re looking at a future of uncertainty, we’re here to help you move forward.
We can also answer questions about common misconceptions about the legal process and having a lawyer at your side. Let’s go over those myths so you can see how having professional legal representation will benefit you.
Common Myths About Car Accident Lawyers and Claims
When people believe certain myths about personal injury lawyers, it can prevent them from seeking the help they need and deserve. Your case will benefit from working with a trustworthy car accident attorney. Let’s debunk some of the myths that surround personal injury lawyers.
- Having an Auto Accident Lawyer Isn’t Affordable. You may be worried about affording to meet with an attorney and then affording the costs of having one as representation. However, it’s not common for a lawyer to charge to meet with you. Many offer free case evaluations. They’ll go over your case with you and determine if you have a valid claim—free of charge. As you proceed with their legal services, your lawyer should be upfront about their fees, as well as explaining how it works. If you file a lawsuit, your lawyer may only receive compensation if you get successful results. It’s important to go over their fees and terms when you meet.
- I Wasn’t Severely Injured, So I Do Not Need a Lawyer. You may think a lawyer only needs to be involved if your injuries were catastrophic—causing a permanent injury that results in a disability and you’re unable to work. However, even if your injuries were minor, you can still have extensive medical costs, will miss work while you heal, and you may have sustained significant property damage in the car accident. When you’re facing these major financial responsibilities, having a lawyer to fight for full and fair compensation gives you the best chance of being able to cover these costs.
- I Don’t Need to Contact a Lawyer About Filing a Lawsuit Soon. You may be on the fence about proceeding with a lawyer. It’s important to not let this decision slip your mind, because you don’t have an unlimited amount of time to file a lawsuit. It’s also important to note that evidence from your car accident can be preserved when you have a lawyer investigating your case as quickly as possible. Waiting until the last minute can cause you to stress about meeting the deadline and not having all the possible evidence to help support your case.
- I Have Insurance to Cover My Costs. While insurance can help, we’ve gone over how insurance companies are looking out for themselves first. Your case could also become more complicated if there are additional complexities to your case. What if your accident was a hit-and-run and the police haven’t found the culprit yet? What if you were in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver? Only your lawyer is going to find the best options for you.
- My Claim Will Have to Go to Court. The fear of going to court may prevent people from even seeking a case evaluation with an auto accident attorney. However, there is a process before where both sides negotiate to reach an agreement on a settlement. Your case may not need to go to court at all. But you should be aware that there is a chance of the case going to court. Let’s go over the various advantages and disadvantages of how you resolve your claim.
Settling Your Case Vs. Going to Court
If you’re worried about going to court, remember that your lawyer is seeking the best way for you to recover the compensation you deserve. The settlement process before going to court may have a few advantages that you may like:
- Anonymity. If your case is in the arbitration process, then the details of your claim will be kept private. Family, friends, and coworkers will likely know that you were injured in a car accident, but not about the details of the case as you work to settle the matter with the other side.
- No Court Costs. Not needing to take the case to court means not dealing with the added court fees. These can add up and can get intimidating. You may feel relief at not having to need to go to that step.
But there may be some situations where the other side isn’t negotiating in the way that you’d hoped. If they’re not offering an amount that will help you cover the costs of the accident, you don’t want to accept an unfavorable settlement just to end the matter. Your lawyer will go over your options, one of them being taking your case to court.
While this may be intimidating, it’s important to know the possible benefits and drawbacks of taking this step. When you go to court, you have the chance to pursue full and fair compensation. While the settlement process may have some give and take, you can fight for the maximum amount that you’re owed. If the court rules in your favor, you can receive this compensation.
But you should keep in mind that there’s another side to this. If the court doesn’t rule in your favor, then you may not be able to recover any compensation. This can be a major deterrent to many, but when you have an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney from Bey & Associates as representation, you can rest assured that we’re going to do everything we can to make your case as strong as possible.
Another benefit of taking your case to court is if your case has unique details that mean your case could set a legal precedent. This could factor into decision making for future cases. The other side of this is not having anonymity. Once a case goes to court, it becomes a matter of public record.
Going to court is a major step, but your auto accident lawyer will go over the options and help you find the path that gives you the best chance of recovery. Let’s go over some tips you can keep in mind if your case goes to court.
When your case proceeds to court, you will likely have a lot of questions about the process. Our lawyers are here for you to answer any questions you have. While we’ll take care of preparing a strong case for you, there are a few items you can cover so you can present your best self in court.
- Dress Appropriately. You want to make a good first impression when you’re in the courtroom. To convey that you respect the situation and you’re taking the matter seriously, you can dress as you would for a job interview. This will make you look professional and can also help your confidence because you know you’re dressed well. Keeping with the job interview key, make sure to wear appropriate shoes and to avoid wearing distracting jewelry. Loud clanging jewelry can be annoying to deal with and the noise could distract you or others trying to listen to your side of the story.
- Arrive Early. You never want to be late for a court date. You also don’t want to arrive with seconds to spare—you’ll be flustered and unfocused. Give yourself a cushion of 15 to 20 minutes so you can find a place to park, walk into the court building, go through security, and to find where you’re supposed to go. This way, you’ll be prepared and ready for what’s ahead of you. You can also go over some last-minute pointers with your lawyer or they can use this time to reassure you and boost your confidence.
- Leave Distractions Behind. Your cell phone or any piece of technology that can make noise should be left either in your car or at home. You don’t want the embarrassing situation of a device going off in court and you also don’t want to worry about the potential situation happening. While turning off devices usually does the trick, you may worry if somehow your phone wasn’t turned off correctly or if it could still make a noise.
- Be Respectful and Calm. Your lawyer will go over how you should address the judge and when you’re going to get your turn to speak about your case. As you’re answering questions or talking about what happened to you, you need to remember to remain as calm as possible. Outbursts or comments with attitude can put you in a bad light. Make sure to also maintain your composure when the verdict is delivered.
- Speak Clearly and Take Your Time. When you’re stating your side of the story, you want to make sure to get your points across and so everyone understands you. While it can be nerve-wracking to speak in a courtroom, remember to slow down and speak clearly.
- Know You’re Not Out of Options. While there is a chance the results don’t go your way, this doesn’t mean that you’re out of options. If the jury didn’t side with you, but your lawyer thinks there are grounds to appeal the decision, then they can proceed with appealing the court’s decision to help you get justice.
Taking your lawsuit to court can be stressful, but your Atlanta auto accident lawyer will help you be ready for your day in court. We’ll go over the process so you know what to expect and we’ll also go over questions you may get from the defense that are designed to trip you up. The other side may look for ways to show that they weren’t completely at fault, which could put you in danger of not receiving full compensation. We’ll help you be ready for these moments so you don’t have to worry about jeopardizing your compensation from tricky questions.
When we’re fighting for you, whether that’s in a negotiation process for a settlement or in the courtroom, we’re going to seek maximum compensation for your losses. At this point, you may be looking toward getting back to your everyday life. However, it’s important to not rush the recovery process. Let’s examine what happens when someone injured in a car accident returns to work too early.
The Dangers of Returning to Work Too Early
We’ve discussed how latent injuries can cause symptoms to hold off for days or weeks. If you return to work before you’re ready, you may end up doing more lasting damage that won’t be covered with your compensation.
You may be wondering why anyone would return to work early if they’re still injured and in the recovery process. However, those who are working may only have so many days off, and many employees usually have weeks to take off at their disposal. When this time runs out, the person can start to worry about the amount of work they’re missing.
They could also wonder what their boss, supervisor, manager, and coworkers think of them. Many people who were injured in car accidents could worry about others thinking they’re exaggerating or taking advantage of the situation. They also may begin to wonder if their position is in jeopardy. This can put a lot of stress on someone and it may result in them deciding to head back into work even though they’re not ready.
Sometimes, when someone has a small injury, like they pulled a muscle or strained tendon, they will still go into work and have the mentality that they’ll work through the pain. This mindset doesn’t match up with physical injuries from a car accident. After an auto collision, the painful symptoms indicate that something is wrong and needs treatment. Working through the pain does not work because this is not how these injuries heal. If you decide to work through the pain, you are putting both your health and your claim in jeopardy.
Going to Work Can Cause More Harm
If you’re working after you’ve been injured, there are a couple of possibilities that can occur. The first is that you can reinjure yourself. You may have been on the mend, but going into work before you were physically capable of doing so caused damage to the injury and you’re back where you started. This is a huge setback and will result in you needing more time to recover because of the healing that was undone.
You can also cause the injury to worsen. When an injury worsens, you’re adding time to recovery, you could need more extensive treatment, and you could risk having an injury that will give you chronic pain or other issues for the rest of your life.
Another difficult part about these two situations is that you may not be able to recover compensation for reinjury or allowing the injury to worsen. These outcomes weren’t a result of the car accident—they were a result of you going back to work too early. When you’re seeking treatment for these injuries, you may have to cover these expenses yourself. While this can be a major setback on its own, if you have to continually miss work to recover, you may not be eligible to recover the days of lost wages because you extended your expected recovery time.
When you first see your doctor, you may ask for a timeline of when you’ll be able to return to work. While your recovery process will reveal more of how much time you’ll need to recover, they may be able to give you an estimate.
Depending on your recovery and how you’re feeling, you may start to feel like you’re able to go back to work. However, feeling like you’re healed doesn’t mean that you’re healed. Before going back to work, always check in with your doctor. They’ll be able to tell you if you’re able to go back or if you still need to let the injury heal more.
If you are cleared to go back to work, this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t irritate the injury. As you’re working, be aware of how you’re feeling. If painful symptoms flare up or you feel that something is wrong, you should inform your employer, go home, and call your doctor immediately.
Navigating life after a car accident injury can be extremely difficult. You’re trying to get your health back, go back to work, and resume your life as it was before the accident occurred. However, it’s important to know that you will need to take some steps before you reach that point. Letting yourself heal and giving yourself the time to recover is essential after a car wreck.
One of the main stressors that can push someone to risk reinjury or make the injury worse is their financial situation. If they have bills to pay and treatment to afford, and the absence of a consistent source of income can make people feel unstable and worried. This is no foundation to go through the recovery process. That’s where we step in.
When Bey & Associates, LLC represents you, securing your future is our priority. We want to get you the justice you deserve so you can have confidence in your future. You deserve to know that you’re going to be able to cover your expenses and maintain your life while you heal. This will provide that stable foundation you need so your mind can be at ease.
Recover with the Help of an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
At Bey & Associates, LLC, we can provide you with a 100% free case consultation where an expert car accident lawyer in Atlanta will be able to tell you the merits of your case. If filing an injury case is in the best interests of your family, we can help you during every step of the filing process and ensure you and your family can recover. You’ll be able to move through the process with confidence that we’re doing everything possible to fight for you.
When you have experienced representation at your side, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected. Your lawyer will build you a strong case that could help you secure your financial future. With this peace of mind, you can move forward with your recovery knowing you have the means to get the care you need and keep up with your other financial responsibilities.
You must file a car accident lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. This period is generally two years after the accident occurs in the state of Georgia. If you wait longer than two years to file a lawsuit, you will be unable to do so. This means the costs of the accident could fall on your shoulders. Timing is often imperative when filing a claim.
To learn more or speak to one of our representatives, contact our law office today. We’re here for you today and every day.