Georgia auto accident victims may receive prompt settlement offers 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 a Clayton County auto accident attorney before signing any release or accepting any money.
Insurance companies understand that there is no objective way to evaluate the financial value of an auto accident's legal claim. A payment should not be negotiated and made until the conclusion of accident-related medical treatment and after a physician determines future medical needs. The victim is able to calculate actual medical expenses and future therapy or costs by waiting until a doctor issues a release.
Accident victims who receive settlement offers from insurance companies may be tempted to accept them as medical expenses mount and the victim is unable to promptly return to work. However, experienced accident victims attorneys recommend that victims wait at least 30 days after an accident before considering a settlement offer. This allows the victim to determine if an injury is chronic or a minor ache and if it will need long-term treatment.
Georgia accident victims who pursue legal remedies can expect the following approximate timeline:
- Initial document requests—30-60 days
- Police reports, medical records, insurance documentation (to both the victim's and the at-fault party's insurance companies), initial witness contact/interviews, social media reviews (both the victim's and the at-fault party's accounts).
- Complete medical care—unknown duration
- This is often the lengthiest period, during which the victim continues medical treatment, receives physical therapy, and otherwise mends.
- Ordering medical records—15-60 days after completion of medical treatment
- This will include procedure notes and billing information.
- Demand letter to insurance companies—15 days after all medical records are received
- Insurance companies do not make offers until they have received a demand letter with pertinent medical and legal information. The company will request copies of all medical records and a legal explanation for the claim.
- Insurance companies' offers—35 days
- Pursuant to Georgia law, insurance companies have 30 days to respond to a demand.
- Settling the case—2 weeks after offer is received
- After a settlement amount is agreed upon by both parties it often takes two weeks to review all legal documentation, receive checks and sign paperwork.
Contacting the Law Office of Shane Smith will ensure that a victim receives reasonable compensation for his injuries. Once a victim has secured an attorney's services the victim should not talk to the at-fault driver, the driver's attorneys or his insurance representatives. All communication with anyone representing the at-fault driver should be done by the victim's attorney.
If you or someone you know has been hurt in an auto accident, meet with a Clayton County auto accident lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Shane Smith to schedule a free legal consultation.