After a car accident, you will likely be making and receiving many phone calls. There will be police reports, medical appointments, car rentals and repairs, and more. Among those will be calls from the insurance company of the at-fault driver. This is the company that should be paying for your injuries and damages, but remember that they are not working for you. What you do or do not say to the at-fault driver’s insurance company could dramatically impact the amount of damages you receive.
As you work to get back on your feet after an accident, you may find that you need compensation for:
This list serves as only a partial representation of the damages available to you after an accident, which include both economic damages, those you have exact dollar amounts for, and non-economic damages, which do not have a set dollar amount. The state of Georgia does not place a limit on the amount you can collect for any of these damages. The only limit on compensation is for punitive damages, capped at $250,000. Punitive damages are difficult to win, as they are meant strictly to punish the defendant, rather than to compensate for any particular injury.
Speaking with Insurance Companies
The other driver’s insurance company is likely to call you to request that you give them an official, recorded statement about what happened. While it may seem harmless to simply restate your honest account of the accident, you must keep in mind that the insurance company is searching for any discrepancy or reason to find you even partially at fault for the accident. Georgia’s use of comparative negligence in determining fault and, therefore, financial responsibility in accidents means that any fault on your part will reduce the dollar amount of damages you can recover.
There is no legal requirement to speak with the insurance company. Some companies may threaten to close the case if you do not provide a statement. However, this is unlikely to be true and will not prevent you from filing a personal injury suit if they do refuse to pay.
The insurance company may also ask you for access to your medical records. Again, you have no legal obligation to provide them. If provided, they can be used to cast doubt on the severity of your injuries, or even to show that a pre-existing condition or injury could be to blame, rather than the accident.
Instead, you can and should provide the company with only those medical records and bills directly related to the accident. You will also need to provide the insurance company with the police report, if they have not received it already. No matter how logical a document request seems, consult with your attorney to determine exactly which documents need to be sent to the insurance company.
Contact an Attorney
One of your first calls after your accident should be to an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, A Personal Injury Law Firm, can help you to deal effectively with calls from the insurance company as you work to recover your costs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.