Were you injured due to another’s negligence and have questions? Read our personal injury claim tips, then contact our Atlanta attorney now.
Mistakes to Avoid in a Personal Injury Claim
The first mistake we often see people make is not calling the police and filing a police report when an accident occurs. It’s essential to have the police arrive and make a police report so that, one, the claim is documented – what occurred, where it occurred and when it occurred – and, two, that we have the information necessary to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver. If no police report is taken, those drivers may disappear, and we may never be able to locate them to pursue your claim.
A second thing we see people do is not accurately report their injuries at the scene of the incident. We frequently have people tell the responding officer that they are not hurt, when, in fact, they admit to us that they were already experiencing pain. This is not the time to be tough and hide your injuries. Make sure that your injuries are accurately recorded. It’s not good for us if at the scene you claim to have been suffering from pain, but the accident report says, “no injuries reported.” Tell the officer when you are feeling pain.
Another thing that people do that is very detrimental to their claim is not seeking medical treatment immediately after they’ve been injured. If you are feeling pain at the accident scene, go to the hospital and get checked out. If it’s not until the next morning that you begin to feel pain, which is very common, go that day and get checked out. This does two things: it documents the injuries that you’re having and when you began having them, and it begins your recovery right away.
Finally, make sure you hire an attorney immediately to help preserve your rights and walk you through this process.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
You should not give a recorded statement to an insurance company that has requested one after an accident has occurred. While people think they may be doing their case a service and making it better by telling their side of the story, they are at a disadvantage in those types of claims. The insurance companies have adjusters who are trained to ask questions and get information from the injured party that could be harmful to the case later on.
We want to make sure that the insurance companies do not ever get a chance to speak with our client without us present and available. To the extent that we ever do have to give recorded statements, always wait until you have an attorney to participate in the recorded statement with you.
The state of Georgia protects people whose existing injuries have been exacerbated by a personal injury. With preexisting injuries, it’s extremely important to use an attorney who has experience handling these claims; they are very different from an injury such as a broken arm or a broken leg where the source of the injury can clearly be traced to the accident. In injuries involving a neck or back, often, those injuries are not visibly apparent and it takes a lot of work to establish a timeline for when injuries occurred and when they were made worse.
Steps to File a Lawsuit
When clients come to see us for their Georgia personal injury cases, one thing they want to know is what the process for filing a lawsuit is. Filing a lawsuit is a process that is undertaken by the attorney without a lot of involvement for the client, other than providing us with the factual background of the case. The first thing we have to do in evaluating a claim is find where the defendant is living so that we know in which county the case can be filed. In Georgia, the case has to be filed – when there is an individual driver – in the county in which that driver resides.
The next thing we do is file the case with the court through electronic filing and prepare a summons that is served with the lawsuit on the defendant. The summons and lawsuit is either served on the person directly by a professional process server or a police officer working for the county. After the lawsuit has been personally served on the defendant, the clock starts running on the case; the remainder of the issues involving the lawsuit have to occur within a specific period of time.
Were you or a loved one seriously injured due to someone else’s negligence and have questions about our personal injury claim tips?
Contact experienced Atlanta personal injury attorney Christopher Gunnels at The Gunnels Law Firm today to arrange a free consultation.
Let our experience work for you.
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