Have you been injured? Let the team at Shane Smith Law help.
Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys
As experienced car accident attorneys, we know that every crash presents unique challenges. Depending on the cause of the crash, the injuries sustained, and the amount of insurance coverage involved, your case could be simple and straightforward, or it could be very complicated. Our goal is to give our clients 100% of our support as we fight to maximize your compensation.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
You don't always need an accident attorney to help you with your injury claim after you have been in an wreck, but if you have any doubts about your right to compensation, an attorney can answer your questions.
In general, you will want to talk to an attorney if any of the following are true:
- You suffered serious injuries or a loved one was killed. The higher the value of your claim, the harder you are going to have to fight for what you deserve. Our accident attorneys understand what it takes to recover from or cope with significant losses and will put our efforts behind getting you what you need to put your life back together.
- The crash involved a commercial semi-truck. When the driver of a commercial truck caused your accident, you can be sure he will be represented by a team of lawyers. You won’t stand a chance without an experienced team behind you. Trucking companies carry millions of dollars in insurance, but you will have to fight to get what you deserve.
- The driver who caused the crash was issued a DUI at the scene. When the crash that left you injured involved a drunk or otherwise impaired driver, an attorney for DUI victims can argue for maximum damages, including punitive damages, to punish the criminally negligent drunk driver.
- You were wrongly found to be at fault. It is possible to share fault in a Georgia car accident, but this could significantly lower the compensation you could be awarded. If you are sure you did nothing to contribute to the crash, our car accident legal team will work hard to support your claim.
We will always work with you to achieve the best result for your case. As your attorney, Shane Smith will provide support and advice, but the decisions are always yours to make. Whether you decide to take your case to trial or wish to avoid a courtroom, Shane will support your decision.
What To Do After A Car Accident
If you have been injured in a car crash, you will have to deal with an insurance company in order to get compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and other losses. Even if the accident is not your fault, you should not expect this process to go smoothly. Insurance companies rarely offer an accident victim all the money they are owed. You will need to fight for your fair settlement.
Here are some tips from attorney Shane Smith:
- After the accident, make sure you call the police. Get an accident report filled out and find out how you can get a copy
- See a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. If you have any new symptoms in the weeks following the crash, get those documented by your doctor. Ask for copies of your medical records.
- Realize that the insurance company's first goal is to save money. They will misuse anything you say to reduce or deny your claim. Don't discuss your injury or the accident with the insurance adjuster.
- Don't sign anything until you have spoken to an attorney.
- Know the value of your claim. You may be entitled to a variety of damages, including but not limited to medical expenses, property damage, car repair costs, lost income and pain and suffering. An accident lawyer can help you put a monetary value on your claim.
Types of Car Accidents
Car accidents occur for many reasons and also occur in many different ways. While there are myriad was that car accidents occur, some kinds of car accident occur much more often than others. Some of the most common types of car accidents include:
- Read-end collisions
- T-bone accidents
- Head on collisions
- Rollover accidents
- Sideswipe accidents
There are many other types of car accidents that can occur, some of which may be the result of negligence on the part of a party involved. An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine whether you have a claim.
Common Causes of Auto Accidents
Car accidents can occur for many reasons, but there are some that are much more common than others. Some of these causes include the following:
- Driver error
- Equipment failure
- Failure to signal
- Sudden stops
- Faulty brakes
- Poor weather conditions
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence
- Improper vehicle maintenance
Driver Distractions that Cause Accidents
Distracted driving is a significant problem in the United States and is the cause of a significant number of accidents each year. As a result, many states have passed legislation limiting drivers’ use of certain devices such as cell phones and other personal electronics. Unfortunately, distracted driving continues to occur, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. Anyone who suspects that they have been injured by a distracted driver should be certain to consult with one of the experienced attorneys of Shane Smith Law as soon as possible.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving occurs whenever a driver engages in an activity that takes the driver’s attention away from driving, even partially. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) places driver distractions into three broad categories, which are as follows:
- Cognitive - thinking about something other than driving
- Visual – taking your eyes off the road
- Manual – taking your hands off the wheel
There are many types of activities that can constitute distracted driving. Some of the most common include:
- Talking on the phone
- Applying makeup
- Using a GPS device
- Observing scenery
- Talking to a passenger
- Looking for objects in the vehicle
There are many other activities that could potentially distract a driver, and an experienced attorney will be able to review your case and determine whether there is any evidence of driver distraction. It is important for victims of distracted drivers to understand that there is a limited amount of time in which a person can file a claim, so any delay could put at risk your ability to recover.
Back and Neck Injuries
- Whiplash – Whiplash, neck sprain or neck strain is an injury to the soft tissues of the neck caused by the jarring of the neck in a car crash. It is the single most common car wreck- related injury. Whiplash often feels like stiffness or a dull ache, but other symptoms may be present. Treatment includes heat therapy, pain relievers, rest and physical therapy. Most victims recover quickly.
- Herniated Disc – Sudden jolts or impacts can cause spinal discs to move out of their proper position leading to numbness and/or pain. Symptoms include electric shock pain, tingling and numbness, muscle weakness and even bowel or bladder problems. Herniated discs may cause pinched nerves. Treatment can include medications, rest, physical therapy and surgery.
- Pinched nerves – The trauma of an accident may squeeze nerves causing weakless, tingling and numbness, or radiating pain in arms, legs, hand or feet. Most patients can be treated with medication and physical therapy. Some require surgery.
- Spinal cord trauma – Trauma to the spinal cord may be very serious. Symptoms may include pain, numbness, sensory changes, loss of bowel and bladder control, spasticity, breathing difficulties and paralysis. The damage may be permanent. Victims may require surgery. Often extensive physical therapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation are needed.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Victims of trauma often experience post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms may occur immediately after the event or up to a year later, and include flashbacks, anxiety, mood changes, lack of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of family and friends. Victims require psychological treatment and may need medication.
Arm and Leg Injuries
- Broken bones – Many broken bones require orthopedic treatment. Sometimes broken bones will need surgery. Victims may require physical therapy to regain strength and movement once the bone heals.
- Knee damage – Symptoms may include pain, swelling and difficulty bearing weight. Treatment may include rest, icing, physical therapy and surgery.
- Torn Rotator Cuffs – A torn rotator cuff occurs from a sudden jarring injury the upper arm joint. Symptoms include pain and weakness in the arm. Treatment includes rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, medication, physical therapy, and surgery.
Head Trauma and Brain Injury
- Facial injuries – Common injuries to the face include bruises, cuts, dental injuries, fractures and temporomandibular joint injuries (TMJ). Injuries can be superficial or severe. Some injuries may require surgery.
- Brain injuries – Common brain injuries include concussion, post-concussion syndrome, closed head injury, and traumatic brain injury (TBI). Symptoms vary depending on the part of the brain that is injured, but may include loss of consciousness, dizziness, nausea, vertigo, sensory difficulties, speech problems, personality changes and many other symptoms. Effects may be permanent. Victims often need extensive rehabilitation.
Should a victim accept a check from the at-fault driver's insurance company?A victim should not accept a check from the at-fault driver or his insurance company as this may be interpreted as a settlement acceptance and may prevent the victim from receiving additional compensation. A victim should consult with an attorney before signing any release or accepting any money.
What should I do with the pictures I took of the car accident and my injuries?
Taking pictures of your accident scene can help police, insurance companies, accident investigators, and—most importantly—your personal injury case. By capturing the damages to both vehicles and your personal injuries, such as swelling, bruises, cuts, and stitches, it will be easier to convince the insurance company or the jury that the crash caused your serious injuries.
Keep your evidence and hold onto your pictures, but do not post any pictures or information about your car crash online. Posting pictures and comments on the Internet about car accidents have cost many people their compensation. For this reason, our lawyers recommend that you do not email photos, tweet pictures, or post pictures on Facebook. Keep your photos and comments to yourself, and only share them with your attorney. Your lawyer will know what photos to share with the insurance company that will strengthen your case and not harms it.
What should you expect to recover for your injuries?
It will depend on the seriousness of your injuries. If you require time off work or if you suffered disfigurement or disability, your recovery will be based off of your injuries, lost income, loss of services, and enjoyment of life.
How can you prove that the other driver hit you or that it was his or her fault?
Request a copy of the accident report. Typically, a police report may indicate who was at fault in the accident. You can use this proof, witnesses’ statements, video surveillance, or hire experts to conduct an investigation and recreate the crash.
Should you provide your insurer with a recorded statement?
No. Many insurance companies will attempt to get a recorded statement from you as soon as possible. It is best to tell your insurance company that you are not comfortable with their request and that you will speak with your attorney first. Even though it is your insurance company, they will attempt to get you to say something that will downplay your injury and lessen their liability.
Should you go to the emergency room?
Yes. It is best for your health and best for your future personal injury claim that you seek medical care promptly after a crash. Even if you are sore or stiff in any way, it is best to have a doctor check you over.
Should you call your insurance company to report your collision?
Yes. You should report your accident to your own insurance company. Every policy is different, but some require notifying them within 30 days following the wreck. Make sure you read the specifics in your policy and report your claim accordingly. You have a duty to the insurance company to report claims so that the insurer can investigate your claim. If you fail to comply with the terms of the insurance policy, coverage may be denied.
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