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1) Common Mistakes to Avoid
First, we often see people who fail to report their incidents. It’s very important to have a police report made to document what occurred, when it occurred, where it occurred and who was involved. We will later need that information when we’re trying to locate witnesses and when we are trying to locate the at-fault driver who caused the incident. All this information is preserved on the police report, but if you don’t have that done, you open yourself up to having a defendant driver who claims this never occurred. Don’t give that opportunity to the defense.
Next, we often see people who wait way too long to go seek medical treatment. As soon as you begin feeling pain and discomfort, go seek medical attention. If your pain doesn’t start until the next day, go to the ER and get checked out. Oftentimes what starts as minor pain will increase to major pain over the coming days, and it’s important to have that documented as soon as possible to correlate it back to the incident. If you wait multiple weeks to go seek treatment, insurance companies will try to imply that if you had really been hurt, you would’ve gone and got medical treatment a lot sooner. Don’t give them that argument.
Another thing we see people often do is fail to follow through on the treatment that they’re prescribed by their doctors. Once the doctors tell you what you need to do, always abide by it. Don’t let gaps occur in your treatment or have time pass where you’re not getting any treatment at all. It’s important to make sure there are no gaps because, again, insurance companies will use that to try to diminish the value of your claim.
Finally, always make sure you immediately find a personal injury attorney who can help document your claim and preserve all evidence. It is essential to find an attorney who’s experienced in handling these types of claims and knows what to do.
2) Steps You Should Take
The first thing to do is obviously get immediate medical attention. In a case of a pedestrian collision, that’s often not optional because the injuries can be so significant and an ambulance is generally involved. The next thing to do is contact an experienced personal injury attorney who has handled many pedestrian cases and knows the law and the methods of collecting evidence to preserve your case and present it in the best light.
3) Choosing an Attorney
When hiring a personal injury attorney for these cases, you will want to look for experience. Because you’re dealing with a pedestrian rather than a car-on-car collision, there are different rules and different laws that apply. The statutes that protect pedestrians, specifically in walkways and on sidewalks, are very favorable, but if you don’t know where to look and how to apply those laws and statutes, they don’t really serve you any value. At The Gunnels Law Firm, we have handled many car-on-pedestrian cases where we’ve been able to get successful resolutions for our clients because we knew how to work up those cases through our years of experience.
Another thing to keep in mind when you are hiring an attorney is to see if they have any experience in representing insurance companies on the other side. I spent many years of my career working for insurance companies and defending these types of cases, so I know what the insurance companies are thinking, how they make their decisions, and what drives them. Now I represent individuals who are trying to receive fair compensation in these types of claims, and I’m able to put that knowledge to use in bringing your claim against an insurance company and knowing how to get the best possible resolution for you.
Another thing that you always want to keep in mind is that it’s crucial to have an attorney that is willing to go to trial and put a case to a jury. Cases are often settled in various ways before trial, but sometimes an insurance company is just not going to make a fair offer and your only option is to take the case to trial to get fair compensation. We spend a lot of our time in court rooms and we know what motivates juries to provide the best compensation to our clients. You don’t ever want to end up with an attorney that is afraid to go to trial or an attorney that insurance companies know is going to take the top offer that they extend, even if it’s not a reasonable one.
4) Recorded Statement
One of the first things the insurance company tries to do is get a recorded statement from the pedestrian who was injured. One of the first things our clients will always ask us if we should talk to the insurance company. The answer in that situation is always no. We don’t ever want our clients talking directly to the insurance companies or giving recorded statements. First, they have no obligation to do that; second, doing so can often be detrimental to the case because they are talking with trained investigators who ask questions in a way that are designed to get the injured party to give answers that may be misleading or not fully accurate.
If you or a loved one were struck by a vehicle while walking in Georgia, you may have questions about pedestrian accident case expectations.
Contact experienced Atlanta pedestrian accident attorney Christopher Gunnels at The Gunnels Law Firm today to arrange a free consultation.
Let our experience work for you.
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