As a car accident victim, you have certain rights expressly or implicitly provided for by Georgia law. But most people are unaware of these rights, as we’ve discovered in our years of practice. This lack of knowledge makes crash victims shortchange themselves and complicate the injury claims process.
Knowing your rights is crucial because exercising them is what ensures you receive fair compensation for your losses. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you exercise your rights and handle the claims process. So, it’s best to contact one for legal advice immediately after a traffic accident.
What Are the Rights of a Car Accident Victim?
Like in all legal cases where there are rights and obligations, a crash victim has certain rights. Below we look at some of them.
You Do Not Have to Provide Oral or Written Statements
The first thing you always have to keep in mind is that you are not obligated to provide any oral or written statements to insurance companies. You can give your account of events to the investigating police officer at the crash scene but avoid accepting blame. When the insurance company calls you to make a statement, politely decline.
Even if the insurance company tells you that if you do not provide a statement, they will not process your claim in time, still decline. This is because they are looking to make a payout before you consult an attorney and might end up offering you very little money. Ensure you have an attorney with you when you make an official statement. An attorney will coach you on what to say to avoid saying things that might place blame on you in any way.
Getting Compensation for Physical and Emotional Injuries
Motor vehicle crashes are more than bruises, broken bones, and lacerations. They can be physically, mentally, and emotionally traumatic, more so if you suffered life-altering injuries. You can suffer permanent injuries, and you might also deal with post-traumatic stress disorder for a long time.
For all these reasons, Georgia law allows you to get compensation for your injuries. Sadly, most car accident victims are unaware of this right because they shy away from speaking with an attorney after the crash. You shouldn’t take this risk as an attorney can help access your claim and determine its worth. A lawyer will make sure you get damages for all medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain, suffering, etc.
The Right to a Copy of the Evidence
In as much as we advise accident victims to get as much evidence as they can from the accident scene, we know it might not always be possible. When you suffer extensive injuries, you’ll be unable to take photos, speak to witnesses, or review any video footage. So, how do you get the evidence as it’s crucial to winning your injury claim?
Thankfully, Georgia law allows requesting a copy of the police report. It will contain the statement of all the parties involved and witnesses and a review of any video footage. It will also contain the report from accident reconstruction experts. You can make the request online by filling a form and paying a sum or going to the office of the investigating law enforcement agency.
If you follow the due process, you should get a copy as soon as the agency processes your request. But if you don’t get it for any reason, contact an injury attorney immediately. The lawyer will quicken the process and get a court order to have it released if necessary.
The Right to Legal Representation
You have the right to seek legal counsel when pursuing a personal injury claim as a car accident victim. Although you can decide to proceed on your own, it is advisable and more beneficial to work with an injury law firm. Most assuredly, an attorney will get you a higher compensation and protect you from insurance bullies.
What Rights Do You Not Have?
While a car accident victim has several rights, there are things that you cannot do. For instance, you cannot leave the scene of the accident until the law enforcement authorities arrive. You also can not force witnesses to testify in court or on your behalf. Lastly, you cannot commence your lawsuit when you wish, as the Statute of Limitations starts counting from the day you got injured.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today!
At the Bethune Law Firm, we know how important it is to uphold and protect the rights of a car accident victim. Therefore, we will ensure no one tramples on your rights and get you the maximum monetary compensation. We work on a contingency fee basis and demand no upfront fee. Contact us today for a free case review.