Individuals often want to know about automobile insurance claims. The following contains general information regarding automobile liability insurance related to personal injury cases in Atlanta, Georgia.
An auto insurance claim lawyer in Atlanta is a bountiful resource to help explain how a car accident relates to an insurance claim. If you’ve been in an accident and are unsure about your rights or the next steps, consulting with an Atlanta personal injury attorney can provide clarity and guidance in such situations.
Third-Party Insurance Claims
The State of Georgia is a fault-based state when it comes to automobile liability insurance. If another motorist causes a traffic accident, the injured victim may file a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
The insurance company may or may not accept liability for the insurance claim. An insurance claim adjuster will make a settlement offer regarding the claim. The first settlement values are typically low, and sometimes multiple periods of negotiation are necessary to reach a settlement.
It is possible that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will not make a reasonable settlement offer. Litigation may be the next step in this scenario. A lawyer files a complaint and this initiates a civil lawsuit; typically, the at-fault driver is a named defendant in the suit.
First-Party Insurance Claims
Uninsured and underinsured motorists in Georgia can file first-party insurance claims. These benefits are able to compensate injured victims if the at-fault driver did not possess automobile liability insurance when the incident occurred. First-party insurance claims are also generally asserted when a person is injured by a hit-and-run driver.
Insurance companies often sell uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance as part of an automobile liability insurance policy. A driver in Georgia can claim the policy limits of the uninsured motorist coverage for every vehicle. If the at-fault driver does have automobile liability coverage, it is possible for the driver to obtain additional coverage for every vehicle; an auto insurance claim attorney in Atlanta can help discern these issues.
The Insurance Claim Process
The insurance company will open an investigation and create a claim file regarding your insurance claim after you notify the insurance company of the car accident. The investigation will be thorough, and you will be asked to provide information and documents to the insurance company’s claim department. A knowledgeable Atlanta auto insurance claim lawyer can help you during this part of the insurance claim process.
Also, an Atlanta auto insurance claim attorney will make sure the insurance company receives all the information it needs. Insurers may attempt to blame your injuries on prior medical conditions. By retaining legal representation, you can make sure the insurance company does not try to unjustifiably delay or deny your claim.
What if the Claim Is Denied?
An insurance company will either deny or approve your insurance claim after the investigation phase is complete. Do not get overwhelmed if the insurance company denies your claim. You can retain an automobile insurance claim lawyer to help you enforce your legal rights.
If the insurance company approves your insurance claim, then you can negotiate a settlement agreement. An insurance settlement may cover the following types of damages:
- Mental suffering
- Emotional distress
- Limited earning capacity
- Lost earnings
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Present and future medical expenses
These are the losses that you suffer due to the automobile accident. It is important to have medical records and other documentary evidence to support your damages. These amounts will be calculated based on these records.
Notify the Insurance Company of the Accident as Soon as Possible
Notify the insurance company of your automobile accident as soon as possible. You must provide your insurance company with notice of the incident. You may have a specific time to notify the insurance company, and you should review your insurance policy to verify this information.
Do not wait weeks to report your accident to the insurance company. Most injured victims report the automobile accident to their insurance company within one or two days of the date of the incident.
Seeking Financial Compensation from Your Insurance Company
You need to make sure that you understand the policy limits associated with your automobile liability insurance policy. Most insurance companies do not pay more than the policy limits associated with a specific insurance policy. Georgia law states that the minimum automobile liability insurance policy limits are as follows:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to a single person
- $50,000 for bodily injuries to multiple people
- $25,000 for property damage
This is often abbreviated as (25/50/25) on automobile liability insurance policies. It is possible for you to have higher policy limits on your automobile insurance policy. Therefore, you should verify the exact policy limits associated with your automobile liability insurance.
Declaratory Judgment Actions in the State of Georgia
Individuals and businesses will often make insurance claims with their insurance company and find that the insurance company asserts a civil lawsuit against the insured. These types of lawsuits are referred to as declaratory judgment actions.
If an insurance company files a declaratory judgment action against an insured, then the court may declare that no insurance coverage exists for the insured individual. Retaining an automobile insurance claim lawyer can help you defend yourself if an insurance company files a declaratory judgment action against you.
Insurance Bad Faith
Insurance companies sometimes engage in bad faith practices. The following are some examples of insurance bad faith claims that you can file against an insurance company:
- Not providing a reasonable explanation when denying a claim or proposing a settlement offer.
- Not settling claims when liability has been established by the insurance policy coverage. The insurance company may be trying to affect settlement outcomes in other parts of the insurance policy.
- Delaying any payment of claims by forcing the insured to file a preliminary claim report and formal proof of loss.
- Providing payments on claims without having statements explaining the insurance coverage associated with the payments.
- Settling claims for less than a reasonable amount.
- Failing to initiate settlement negotiations when liability has been clearly established.
- Not affirming insurance claims within a reasonable time period after an insured provides all proof of loss statements.
Contact Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you want to stand up to an insurance company and enforce your legal rights, then reach out today to schedule a free consultation. We can help you learn more about automobile insurance claims and how you can seek financial compensation for your losses. Many insurance claims can be exceedingly complex, and it is important that you speak to an automobile insurance claim lawyer to learn which legal options are available to you.