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Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accidents

Your legal rights explained by a nationally recognized attorney

A car accident may be over in an instant, but if you've been hurt, you may be left with more questions than answers. That's why we're here. Gary Martin Hays & Associates has been helping Georgia residents injured in car accidents since 1993, and we're happy to answer your questions.

We hope this information will give you an idea of where to begin after your car accident. For specific information on your individual case, contact us right away. Call 1-800-898-HAYS for a free consultation.

What do I need to do at the accident scene?

Your top priority should be to make sure the scene is safe. Call emergency services and assist if you are trained to do so. If your car is still drivable, you may need to move it to make sure you aren't blocking traffic.

Get names and contact information for anyone else involved in the accident as well as any witnesses and the investigating police officer. Exchange insurance information with the other involved drivers as well. Stick to the facts of what happened and never say anything that could be construed as admitting fault. Determining fault for an accident is complex, and you're not in a good position to make that call at the scene.

If you have a smart phone or camera, take pictures of the accident scene, visible damage to vehicles and any visible injuries as well. That evidence will help you with a potential claim. See a medical professional as soon as possible and let him or her know that you were in a car accident.

Notify your insurance company of the accident promptly, but again, stick to the facts of what happened. Don't say anything regarding fault for the accident.

Finally, contact us right away. Retaining an attorney from our firm early in the process gives you the best chance of successfully resolving your case.

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How can I get my medical bills paid?

Ultimately, if another driver was at fault for your accident, we feel he or she is responsible for your medical bills. However, the other driver's insurance company will not pay out until after your medical treatment has been completed. To get your bills paid during treatment, you have three options:

  1. Med Pay Coverage. This is a type of insurance coverage available in Georgia that covers anyone injured in an accident while in your vehicle. If you have Med Pay on your insurance policy, then your auto insurance company will cover your medical bills up to the policy limit. If another driver is at fault for the accident, your insurance company may ask the at-fault driver's insurance company for reimbursement - this is called subrogation.
  2. Health Insurance. If you don't have Med Pay, but you do have health insurance, then your health insurance company should pay your medical bills, subject to the usual terms and conditions of your health insurance. Some health insurance companies will tell you that they won't pay for injuries suffered in a car accident, but that's absurd. Give us a call and our attorneys will speak with them on your behalf. Again, if you later recover from the at-fault driver, your health insurance company may be reimbursed through subrogation - and this can help you keep your insurance rates down, depending on your policy.
  3. Attorney's Lien. If you don't have Med Pay or health insurance, you definitely need us on your side. We have relationships with healthcare providers who are willing to provide treatment to our clients on the condition that they will be paid once you recover from the at-fault driver. This is known as an attorney's lien.

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Have You Been Involved in a Car Wreck?

Click on the following links to watch videos featuring Gary Martin Hays speaking about other legal issues related to car accidents:

If I was hit by a drunk driver, can an attorney help?

If this happened to you, I highly recommend you call us right away. In order to recover damages (that is, financial compensation) for an accident, you need to show that the driver who caused your injuries was negligent. Driving under the influence is certainly a form of negligence that could result in the other driver being liable for your injuries, but you'll need an attorney's help to prove it. Even if the other driver was arrested and charged with DUI, remember that the police and prosecutors don't work for you. Their job is to convict the offender of a crime, not to get compensation for the victim.

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I keep getting calls from the insurance companies. What should I do?

You need to tell them that you have retained an attorney and that they can direct all of their questions to your attorney. Remember, even your own insurance company isn't on your side, and the other motorist's certainly is not - their goal is to pay out as little as possible. Anything you say about the accident could be used against you. That's why you need Gary Martin Hays & Associates to field those questions on your behalf. If you haven't retained an attorney, you need to contact us immediately.

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I had to use sick time at work while recovering from my injuries. How does that affect my case?

As long as you have documentation that you took time off work while recovering from injuries suffered in the accident, we work to pursue reimbursement for your lost wages, even if you had another means such as paid sick leave to pay for that lost time.

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Do I really need to see a doctor?

The most important thing you can do after a car accident is to seek medical attention right away if you are injured, shaken up or sore. Accidents often cause internal injuries that can take time to become readily apparent, and seeing a doctor right away is the best option for your health - which should always be your first priority.

Tell your doctor that you were involved in a car accident and make sure you comply with all of his or her instructions. Remember, seeking medical attention right away for your injuries strengthens your case if you later need to file a personal injury claim. If you wait to see a doctor, the insurance company may question your injuries.

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When should I accept a settlement offer from the other driver's insurance?

There are two things you should always do before accepting a settlement:

  • Complete all of your medical treatment, and
  • Consult an attorney.

Insurance companies routinely offer "low-ball" settlements, hoping to get victims to sign away their legal rights before the full cost of the accident is known. Once you accept a settlement, there is rarely anything an attorney can do for you. That's why it's crucial to complete your treatment so that you can ensure the settlement pays for all of your medical bills and have an attorney from our firm review the settlement before you accept any payment. We're consistently able to secure much more compensation for our clients, often several times the initial settlement offer.

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