Many people will experience the stressful ordeal of being in a car accident at some point in their lives; However, not everyone who has been in a car accident needs a lawyer. For instance, if there is only property damage to your car and no injuries, then you can often resolve the issue on your own with your insurance company. However, with over 5 million car accidents per year, including 3 million people injured in car accidents each year, and over 20,000 fatalities due to car accidents each year, there’s a possibility you may sustain injuries if you’re unlucky enough to be in an accident.
Being in a car accident is stressful, no matter how minor or severe the wreck is. Jarome Gautreaux of Gautreaux Law is a Macon car accident lawyer who can take away the stress that accompanies such accidents. He handles the day-to-day dealings with the insurance companies and lets you focus on your recovery. He will start to work on your case immediately, and aggressively fight to get you fairly compensated for your injuries.
5 Things TO DO at the Scene of Your Car Accident
- Turn on hazards and call the police – they will ask questions about what happened and complete an accident report
- Check for injuries – If anyone needs medical help call 911 and go to the ER for treatment. Sometimes, due to an adrenaline rush immediately following an accident, injuries don’t show up right away. If you experience pain after getting home you should go see a doctor as soon as possible to determine if your injuries were caused by the accident.
- Take pictures – include your car, the other car, and any skid marks on the roadway
- Notify your Insurance Company ASAP – They may deny the claim if you do not notify them in a timely manner
- If possible, exchange insurance and contact information and get the name and number of witnesses
When to Call a Macon Car Accident Lawyer
- If you are injured in an accident anywhere in Georgia and seek medical treatment, or if there are any fatalities
- When the Insurance company won’t pay for medical treatment or won’t pay the full amount for medical treatment
- If the insurance company acts in bad faith, meaning they deny coverage with no explanation and/or no investigation, or fail to pay in a timely manner
3 Things NOT to do After a Car Accident
- If injured, don’t wait to call a lawyer. In Georgia, there’s generally a two-year statute of limitations for car wreck claims (but this can be complicated, so it is best to determine it on a case-by-case basis). This means you only have a certain amount of time to file a claim and be able to recover for your injuries.
- Don’t talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company about what happened. They will probably call you and want a statement. Whatever you say to them they may use against you. You might think you are saying something to help your case, when in fact you are saying something that will cause them to deny your claim. Only let your lawyer talk to the insurance companies.
- If you were injured, don’t agree to any settlement amounts or sign any documents without talking to a lawyer. Insurance companies may try to get you to accept money that doesn’t fully reimburse you for your injuries. Once you agree on an amount you generally can’t change it or ask for more later, even if you discover you need future medical treatment.
What’s Your Case Worth?
This is probably the most frequently asked question of personal injury lawyers, but one of the most difficult to answer definitively. While a lawyer can explain how they came up with an amount of what they think your case is worth, they can’t tell you exactly how much your case is worth. If you’ve hired a lawyer who claims he/she can guarantee a dollar amount, then you should consider getting a second opinion.
So why can’t a lawyer give you a specific amount? Because no two cases are exactly alike. It’s a bit like saying that two different Honda Accords bought at the same time from the same dealer are going to need the same repairs at the same time for the life of the vehicles – it’s an unlikely scenario. With that in mind, there are certain economic and non-economic damages to consider for every car wreck case. Add up all these expenses and you can reasonably determine, without any guarantees, what your case is worth:
Medical Expenses – Includes current, actual expenses and any future, estimated expenses likely to be incurred due to your injuries.
Lost Wages – Includes actual income lost to date due to missed work, and any injury-related future income likely to be lost.
Pain and Suffering – It’s difficult to put a dollar amount on this type of damage. It’s an amount given for the physical, emotional and mental pain that one suffers because of their injuries. It encompasses the pain and suffering to date and may also include any future pain and suffering that is likely to be endured.
Punitive Damages – Also a difficult amount to quantify. This is an amount awarded to the plaintiff with the intention of punishing the defendant for his/her actions and to deter them from engaging in similar conduct in the future.
Most Common Types of Car Accidents
- Head-on Collisions – when two cars going in the opposite direct crash directly into each other
- T-Bone/Side-Impact Crashes – when one car hits another car in the side of the vehicle
- Rear-end Collisions – when one car traveling behind another hits the car in front of it
- Single Vehicle Accidents – when only one car is involved in the accident – usually hits a tree/object or rolls over
- Low-Speed Collisions – an impact that happens at low speeds, often in a parking lot or on private property
Most Common Causes of Car Accidents
- Running through a Red Light/Stop Sign
- Failure to Yield the Right-of-Way
- Improper Lane Change
- Speeding or Reckless Driving
- Driving Under the Influence
- Distracted Driving / Texting and Driving
- Teenage Drivers
Types of Car Accident Injuries
- Neck Injuries – Usually caused by rear-end collisions. The neck jerks forward and then backward causing whiplash.
- Head and Brain Injuries – Can result in a concussion, chronic headaches or swelling of the brain, which could ultimately lead to brain damage or death.
- Broken Bones
- Spinal Cord Injuries – Damaged nerves that send signals to the brain, which can result in paralysis
Ways to Avoid or Minimize Injury in a Car Accident
- Wear your Seatbelt – They reduce serious injury by half and reduce the risk of death by 45%
- Ensure children are correctly restrained in a Child Safety Seat
- Make sure drivers can see you – keep headlights and tail lights on
- Keep your vehicle properly maintained and buy one with airbags
- Try to avoid other drivers who are speeding, swerving or driving dangerously
- Never drink and drive or text and drive
If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Georgia, then Macon car accident lawyer Jarome Gautreaux can help. Begin your path to recovery by calling the Gautreaux Law firm today for a free one-on-one consultation. We’ll determine the facts of your case and work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. As always, our firm charges no fees to our clients unless we win your case.