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Why Hire an Attorney Who Specializes in Auto Accidents: Understanding Auto Insurance in Georgia

The point of having auto insurance in Georgia is that it's used to help owners of motor vehicles protect themselves, whether they cause an accident or are the victim of an accident. After an auto accident--when it is safe to do so--the owners or drivers of each vehicle must share their auto insurance information. Next, the parties inform their respective auto insurers of the accident. 

In straightforward cases where there's property damage but minimal (if any) bodily harm, a settlement offer is made by an insurance adjuster and accepted by the driver or owner of the policy. If anyone suffers any bodily injury at all, though, it's important to keep in mind that once you accept and receive the payout of a settlement offer from the insurance company for any injury beyond property damage, you cannot return to the auto insurance company with an update on your injury or recovery and request further compensation. 

At Paisley Law LLC, our contingency-based personal injury attorney and team based in Atlanta and Decatur will help you better understand your situation and legal options. Call us today at 404-618-0960 to schedule a Free Consultation to discuss the details of your potential case.

How Car Insurance Works in Georgia

At a fundamental level, car insurance is an agreement between a for-profit insurance company and the policyholder(s). Policyholders may be an individual, a group of individuals of a particular class (e.g., a family), occupants of a vehicle, or even a company. 

When an insurance policy is taken out, the policyholder makes regular payments, known as premiums, to the insurer. In return, the insurance company agrees to cover the costs of damages associated with an accident, but what many auto insurance policyholders are often unaware of, is that the insurer only agrees to pay in accordance with the limits established by the insurance policy.

If you're driving with two other passengers in your vehicle and are involved and (unfortunately) all injured in an auto accident that you yourself are deemed to be not at fault for, and the other driver's policy limits are capped at $25,000 per person/ or up to $50,000 per incident, chances are that the most you could potentially receive in a bodily injury settlement from the other driver's insurance, would (more than likely) be up to $50,000 altogether--regardless of whatever injuries you and your passengers have sustained, and only if you file a personal injury lawsuit quickly. 

An insurance policy can include first-party insurance, which covers property damage or bodily injury suffered by the person(s) named on the policy. It also includes third-party insurance, which is insurance purchased by a person or company to protect them against liability for property damage or bodily harm they (or someone on their behalf) may cause. In laymens terms, first-party insurance covers you--whether you're found to be at-fault of the accident or not--and third-party insurance (often referred to as "liability insurance", covers you if you are found to be at-fault of an accident and the other driver(s) or person(s) suffer property damage and/or bodily injuries from the accident. In both scenarios, the insurer only agrees to pay up to (or in accordance with) the limits established by the insurance policy.

Insurance Adjusters and the Personal Injury Claims Process

If you are in an accident, one of the first steps you take after the accident is to contact your insurance company. The company will send an insurance adjuster to investigate the claim, decide whether it has merit, and determine how much, or if, to pay.

What many drivers do not understand about the claims process is that the insurance company is a for-profit entity with a vested interest in keeping its costs low. One of their largest expenses is settlement payouts. By underpaying or altogether avoiding claims, insurance companies increase their profits.

It's irrelevant whether you file a first-party or third-party claim because the insurance company prioritizes profits. Even if you are their customer, your needs are secondary to the company's mission. They're in it for the money, honey.

Many insurance companies also employ and train claims adjusters and attorneys to be aggressive. It is not uncommon for them to use manipulation (such as pretending to be empathetic to your situation and immediately offering you some small, peanuts-size settlement before you've even received proper medical care or attention, etc.) or intimidation tactics (such as telling you they'll increase their "offer" to you but only if you accept it now or "today", or else it's "off the table", and they insinuate that you'll get nothing in the end, etc.) to reduce or avoid a settlement. 

This settlement offer may be far less than what the injured party needs to recover in order to be made whole or the closest thing to it. The terms of the offer, however, are designed to make it seem like the driver is actually getting a good deal.

Alternative to Settlements in Georgia Personal Injury Claims

Drivers who have filed a claim with their insurance provider will likely get a settlement offer by the insurance company. Many insurance adjusters are trained to pick up on the slightest hints of any vulnerability (i.e. the individual is young and naïve or in some way feeble or impressionable and therefore easy to manipulate, or the individual seems to be financially-vulnerable or in financial duress and therefore might be more eager or willing to accept any sort of settlement at all--even if it's far below the threshold of what it should or could be, in order for said person(s) to fully recover from their injuries) to exploit, in order to increase profits. 

Many injured parties take the settlement offer because they are desperate and need the money immediately. Many of them only realize months later how little they received in light of the true extent and nature of their injuries.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, you do not have to accept the settlement offer. You can hire a lawyer and, if in your best interests, you can file a personal injury claim. Through a personal injury claim in civil court, you have more flexibility, and your attorney has more tools to negotiate a settlement in your favor or opt to go to trial to get you the best possible settlement. 

Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in Atlanta and the surrounding areas Today

At Paisley Law LLC, we know you are dealing with a lot right now. Some of us have even been through the process of filing a personal injury suit due to an auto accident and subsequent injury. Auto accidents, even when the property damage and bodily injury are not severe, take a toll on a person. It is a hassle to deal with insurance companies, especially when the auto insurance adjusters are intimidating or aggressive. Our auto accident lawyer and team will do all the work for you, so you can focus on your recovery and not worry about if you are going to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today at 404-618-0960 to schedule a Free Consultation to discuss the details of your potential case and learn more about how we can help you.

Contact Us Today

The team at Paisley Law LLC is committed to answering your personal injury questions. We specialize in truck accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, DUI accidents, slip and fall accidents, wrongful death, pedestrian & bicycle accidents, premises liability, and dog bite cases in Georgia.

Contact us today for a FREE no-obligation consultation.