We all think we know how car accidents are supposed to work. The drivers involved exchange insurance information, then go their separate ways and let the insurance companies sort it out.
But what if the accident wasn’t your fault, and you’re facing serious medical bills, but can’t go to work? The “normal” process may not be enough, or the insurance company may come back and say you’re to blame when you know that’s not right.
The truth is, you’re better off hiring a lawyer after any serious car accident that wasn’t your fault. At Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., we’re committed to helping accident victims pursue their full, rightful compensation after they’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence.
If you’ve been injured in a crash in Douglasville or surrounding areas of Georgia, call our office right away. We’re passionate about helping accident victims. We’re ready to fight relentlessly on your behalf.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident?
The primary reason to hire an attorney after a car accident is to protect yourself and your legal rights.
Perhaps everything goes smoothly, the other driver’s insurer pays up, and everyone goes on about their business. Assuming this will be the case, though, is dangerous. The other driver may not speak truthfully about the circumstances of the accident, and it’s in the interest of their insurer to pay as little as possible after an accident – and it’s even better for them if they can avoid paying anything at all.
If you’ve been involved in a major accident, the insurer could be on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other compensation. They’re not likely to cover your full losses if they aren’t made to.
Hiring a lawyer shows you are serious about making sure your rights are upheld, and it gives you a better chance of succeeding, should you need to file a claim.
Will the Other Driver’s Insurance Handle the Claim?
The willingness of the other driver’s insurance company to pay your claim may depend greatly on the circumstances of the case. If it’s clear that the other driver was at fault – say, if the police determined they were intoxicated and there’s sufficient evidence to prove it – they may quickly offer you a settlement. But if the insurance company believes that they can fight the claim and avoid paying you for your losses, then that’s what they’re likely to do.
Even if the insurance company does make an offer, however, chances are it’s not for the full value of what you’re owed.
An attorney can explain the extent of the damages you’re owed following your accident, and make a strong case to seek a higher payout for you.
What Evidence Do I Need for My Car Accident Claim?
The more evidence you have for your car accident claim, the better your chances of success and the more money you can potentially receive. If you’re involved in an accident, do your best to take photos at the scene. If you’re too injured to take pictures and need urgent medical care, try to find someone else to take pictures for you.
You’ll also want to save any medical bills you receive as you heal after the accident. Along with the bills, any records you can provide from doctors or hospitals, prescription medication records, and similar documents should be preserved. If you’re forced to miss work as part of the recovery process, any records you can obtain from your employer can bolster your case.
Another powerful source of evidence in car accident claims can include reports from law enforcement agencies. Along with police records, your attorney will try to secure any available security video or photo surveillance records, as well.
Collecting this kind of evidence can be a lengthy process, but a good lawyer can speed things along and make sure no mistakes are made along the way.
How Do I Know If I Need A Lawyer?
If you’re involved in a minor accident, and nobody is injured, you may not need a lawyer (though you should at least consult with one, all the same, just to be thorough). If you’re hurt in an accident, though, we highly recommend you hire an attorney.
Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. While the people who work at insurance companies may be very personable and friendly, it’s in their interest and the company’s interest to pay out as few claims and as little money as possible.
The greater your injuries, the more medical bills and other expenses you’re facing, which means the insurance company will be paying out more money.
If the insurer is facing a significant loss in paying out your claim, they’ll fight hard to avoid doing so. Hiring a lawyer may be the only way to recover the compensation you’re entitled to in a timely manner.
What Happens If I Don’t Get a Lawyer Involved?
Here are a few things that can happen if you don’t hire a lawyer after your accident:
- The insurer delays paying your claim. If you’ve been seriously hurt in a car accident, you need money quickly to cover medical bills, lost income due to missing work, and other losses. The at-fault driver’s insurer can drag their feet on a claim for months or years if you don’t have an attorney to force them to pay out more quickly.
- You get less than what you deserve. Insurers can use all sorts of tricks to avoid paying you what you deserve. A lawyer will fully investigate your case and build a solid claim to seek the full damages you’re entitled to for all the losses you’ve suffered.
- You may not get anything. Insurance companies are massive organizations with significant resources at their disposal. They can and will use any means available to them to avoid paying a claim. To make sure you aren’t left with nothing after going through an accident, you need a skilled lawyer on your side.
Have you recently been injured in a car accident? Don’t wait to speak with an attorney, as evidence can quickly disappear if you don’t move quickly. Call Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
John W. Sherrod is a Founding Partner of Sherrod & Bernard, P.C., who has represented injury victims and their families in Georgia for more than 30 years. A native of Marietta, Georgia, John graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia in 1984 and graduated from Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law at the top of his class in 1987. In addition to his law practice, John is a frequent speaker at trial lawyer functions and an active member of several professional organizations, including the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and Southern Trial Lawyers Association.