Cohen & Sinowski
Cohen & Sinowski

FAQs

Renting a Car After an Auto Accident in Atlanta

You are eligible to rent a car after being involved in an Atlanta area auto accident – whether your vehicle is totaled or not.

If Your Car Has Been Totaled

If your car is not drivable on a public road, then you may be entitled to a rental car. If the at fault vehicle determines liability is clear, then they should provide a rental car. If the at fault insurance carrier is taking too long to make a determination and you have rental car coverage on your own policy, then you can call your insurance company and get a rental car in accordance with the coverage that you purchased. Your insurance company does not require an accident report for the coverage to kick in. Hiring an attorney will help this process go more smoothly and ensure that you can move on with your day-to-day life. Once you’ve hired a lawyer, he or she will call the other party’s insurance company and follow up with a letter stating that he or she represents you. We will also give them your contact information, so they can handle the rental car. It is important to note that the firm may not act until it has an accident report and has spoken with the insured member. Sometimes, the rental car contract will end when the insurance company offers you fair market value for your vehicle. Other times, you’ll be given a couple of days to return the rental and purchase a new car. Make sure you determine the value of your vehicle before the other party’s insurance company makes an offer, as the numbers may be different.  If your car is not totaled out, you might be entitled to additional claims for Diminished value and Loss of Use claims.  Please contact our firm for more information about these claims.

If Your Car Can Be Repaired

If you’re involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault and your car is repairable, you need to take it to a body shop or a collision center. If you use a body shop, the insurance company will send you the check for repairs. If you use a collision center, the insurance company will send the check to the collision center directly. There are pros and cons for both, and don’t forget to seek the additional compensation for Diminished Value and Loss of Use. If you have to choose a body shop for yourself, try to choose a repair shop that deals with insurance companies on a regular basis. They’re more likely to provide you with timely service.

Rental Car Coverage

Your personal car policy should have a clause that applies to coverage for rented vehicles. It is also possible that you will have to purchase additional coverage if you have a minimum limits policy and are renting a new car. There are lower tier companies that rent older cars for less, and your insurance may satisfy a lower tier company. Remember, if you have a wreck in a rental vehicle and it is your fault, you will be responsible for the deductible and the company’s loss of use for that vehicle. Therefore, to protect yourself, you might want to purchase additional coverage to cover the deductible.

Get Help After an Atlanta Car Accident

If you were hurt in a Georgia automobile accident, it is important to hire an attorney. An attorney will help make sure you get the representation and protection you deserve. Before hiring one, you should have all the contact and insurance information from the other person involved in the accident. Make sure the other party involved has filed an accident report.
It depends on the provider. Under Medicare, the health care provider has the choice to either file a lien against your claim or bill Medicare. Under Medicaid rules, if the provider knows that the treatment is related to an injury claim, then they cannot bill Medicaid unless the claim is denied. If either Medicaid or Medicare makes any payments for your treatment, under State and Federal Law, they have to be paid back out of your claim proceeds.
It depends on the policy, but most of the time, yes. You will still have to pay deductibles and co-pays, and virtually all health insurance contracts require repayment out of the settlement proceeds. Because of the upfront cost and reimbursement potential, most clients choose to treat with doctors who will wait for the case to settle for payment, which does not require an upfront cost.
Yes. Virtually all doctors we work with will treat on a lien, which is an agreement to withhold payment until the case settles. Most clients choose this option as they don’t want to pay for co-pays or deductibles and do not have to wait to be pre-approved by health insurance companies for treatment.
This is not an easy question to answer because there is no “one size fits all” answer. Every personal injury case is unique, and even two seemingly similar cases can have drastically different outcomes. Instead of asking your friend what he recovered through his personal injury claim, talk to an experienced lawyer about the specifics of your case to get an accurate estimate for your claim’s value. Remember, this is only an estimate – what you actually end up with, if you end up with compensation at all, could be more or less than your lawyer initially estimates. There is also no guarantee that you will recover compensation for your claim, no matter how strong it seems.

How a Personal Injury Claim is Valued

To get a stronger sense of what your claim is worth, understand how claims are valued. Personal injury damages fall into two categories: special and general damages. Special damages are the damages that are easy to value. These are your medical bills, your lost wages, and anything else that has a concrete bill. General damages are the damages that cannot be valued easily. These are your pain and suffering damages like your emotional trauma and reduced quality of life due to chronic pain in the injured body part. While special damages are easily quantified, general damages require a little bit more consideration. When an insurance company values general damages, it typically takes the claim’s special damages figure and multiplies it by a number deemed appropriate. The greater effect the injury had on the victim’s life, the higher the multiplier used.

Factors that Affect your Claim’s Value

Many different factors impact your eventual compensation package, such as:
  • The quality of the evidence you provide;
  • The amount of evidence you provide;
  • Your long-term complications from the injury; and
  • The type of injury you suffered.
Another important factor that affects your claim’s value is your level of fault for the accident. In Georgia, a victim may recover compensation as long as he or she is less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. When a victim is partially at fault, his or her total compensation amount is reduced according to the percentage of fault he or she holds.

Getting the Compensation you Need to Cover your Damages

As you can glean from the information above, your compensation package depends largely on the insurance provider’s perception of your injury and its effect on your life. If the case goes to court, how the court understands your case will affect its ruling. This is where your lawyer’s negotiation skills and use of evidence comes into play. In discussions with the insurance provider or presentations to the court, your lawyer must paint an accurate picture of your accident, your injury, and the damages you suffered in order to recover the compensation you need.

Get a Realistic Estimate from an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the most effective ways of recovering the compensation you need for your personal injury damages is to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you build the strongest claim possible. To start working with a member of our team, contact Cohen & Sinowski today to set up your initial case evaluation in our office. Disclaimer: This article is informational only and should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on the information presented here.

I could really use the cash. Should I take it?

No. Tell the insurance company that you’ll get back to them, and then, contact an attorney immediately. Insurance companies will often offer a minimal amount of money in return for your signature stating that you won’t sue them. Never take an insurance check without first consulting an attorney.
You should always see a doctor immediately after an accident, even if you are not experiencing pain at the time. If you begin experiencing pain, visit a doctor as soon as possible. Make sure to document your pain, the moment you noticed it, and when you went to the doctor. Keeping a pain diary can be extremely helpful.
The legal team here at Cohen & Sinowski in Atlanta, Georgia, gets asked this question frequently: How long does it take to resolve a personal injury claim? Our attorneys always answer it the same way, by asking our clients: How long are you going to be hurt and how long are you going to be treated? Assuming you know the answer to that question, we’ll tell you that 90 days after you are finished being treated by a doctor and are no longer hurt, your claim will be well on its way to being resolved.

Our Process for Car Accident & Personal Injury Claims

Read below to learn more about how we would handle and process a new claim here at Cohen & Sinowski in Atlanta, Georgia.

Requesting Records

First, Cohen & Sinowski will send a letter to your medical providers requesting that they send all medical records and bills to our office. At this point, we should already have the hospital bill and records, provided that there was no ongoing treatment provided. Given that you were treated by your doctor (a physician with whom you have an established relationship), you will receive monthly billing (hopefully sent to your insurance). You should have a copy of the bill, but not the records. In some cases, the doctor will give you a copy of your records as well. This step can take around 30 days. If you did receive ongoing treatment, then you’ll need to write a letter to the hospital, requesting that your bills and records be turned over to the independent copier company (ICC). The ICC will then determine the final cost of these bills, and within 30 days, they’ll send a letter to your attorney with a request for this amount. Once the amount has been paid, the ICC will send your requested materials, which takes another three weeks. The process with the hospital can take up to two months if you underwent continued treatment at the hospital.

Review Records

Next, your records must be reviewed. Once this review is completed, your balances have been checked, and everything has been evaluated by your lawyer, we will send a demand letter on your behalf to the insurance company asking. This letter will ask for an amount well above the amount of a projected settlement. You should know that each adjuster probably has over 250 files to review at any given time. So it’s safe to assume that the adjuster will take about 30 days to respond with a first offer. Then, you and your attorney will discuss what the offer will put into your pocket after all bills are paid. Ultimately, you will discuss the amount you really want to walk away with.

Negotiating with Insurance Companies

Your attorney will give you advice, and you will proceed from there. If your case resulted in major injuries, it is best to negotiate slowly if the defendant has substantial coverage (more than adequate to meet your desired amount), and it is best to make a policy limit demand. A policy limit demand would give them about 30 days to send their policy limits to your attorney if their coverage is less than the value of your claim. If they do not pay in a timely fashion, other factors will come into play that your attorney will discuss with you in person.

When to File Your Car Accident Claim

If you have an injury that is healed within 60 days (like a sprain or strain), the case appears reasonable, and you are dealing with an insurance company that is fairly well known, then settlement should happen within the next 45 days. If your injuries are more serious and take more than 60 days to heal, it is best to get well first and then present your claim.

Get Help From an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

Get legal representation from Atlanta’s top-rated personal injury firm, Cohen & Sinowski After your accident, we’re here to make sure you get back on your feet. Request your free case evaluation today online or by phone at [number].
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident. When you are involved in an accident, you have two years from its date to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for your damages in court. Typically, insurance companies will not compensate victims for their damages once two years pass, so it is important that you are proactive about filing your claim, whichever route you take toward compensation. Usually, victims file personal injury claims with the negligent parties’ insurance providers first, then file lawsuits if they cannot resolve their claims out of court. In some states, the statute of limitations begins to “run” on either the date of the accident or the date that the victim knew or reasonably should have known he or she was injured because of the accident. In Georgia, this is not the case. The statute of limitations for your case began the day you were in an accident, regardless of whether you knew you were injured or not. This is why it is crucial for accident victims to receive medical attention as soon as possible after being involved in an accident.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are a few exceptions to Georgia’s two year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. One of these is when the claim is filed against a government entity. If you are injured because of governmental negligence, such as falling on a broken staircase in a government building or getting into a car accident because of the road’s poor condition, you have six months from the date of your accident to file a formal claim if it is against a city. For a claim against the state or county, the statute of limitations is one year. The other exception is when the victim is a minor or an incompetent adult. When this is the case, the statute of limitations begins to run when the victim either becomes an adult or he or she is no longer incompetent.

Why the Statute of Limitations is Important

The statute of limitations ensures that all personal injury claims are relevant and that the evidence used to support them is current. Over time, witnesses’ memories fade and victims’ injuries heal, making it difficult to link an injury to a specific event. The sooner you file your claim after your accident, the greater chance you have of recovering compensation for your damages.

Work with an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the benefits of working with an experienced personal injury lawyer to pursue your claim is that your lawyer will keep your claim on track. It can be easy to let the statute of limitations for your claim to run out, especially if you are suffering from a severe injury or a permanent disability after you accident. Contact our team at Cohen & Sinowski today to schedule your initial case review with us, during which we can answer any questions you have about your case and Georgia’ s personal injury laws. Disclaimer: This article is informational only and should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on the information presented here.
Just like there is no “one size fits all” answer about what your personal injury claim is worth, there is no clear-cut answer for what it will cost you to hire a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim. In personal injury law, variables affect everything, from the validity of your claim to the claim’s value to whether you can expect to resolve it easily outside of court. The variables that determine what it will cost you to hire a personal injury lawyer are:
  • The complexity of your case;
  • Whether your case goes to trial; and
  • Whether your lawyer bills you hourly, works on a retainer, or works on contingency.
Of course, there are additional variables within these categories, like the percentage of your settlement your lawyer receives if the case is settled and if your lawyer bills you hourly, how long it takes to resolve the claim.

Ways Personal Injury Lawyers Bill Clients

Our team works on contingency, which means we only get paid when our clients recover compensation. You pay nothing up front – when you recover compensation, our team receives a percentage of your settlement. This is true regardless of whether your case is resolved with the insurance provider or it goes to court and ends in a judgment. Working on contingency is common for personal injury firms, but not all firms bill this way. Some bill their clients hourly, which means the client pays a fixed rate for every hour of the lawyer’s time it takes to conclude the case, regardless of the case’s outcome. Other lawyers work on retainer, which means the client pays a fixed rate up front for the lawyer to handle the case.

Determining your Lawyer Bill Based on your Settlement Amount

Before you sign an agreement with a personal injury lawyer, find out how he or she bills clients. Get the specifics of his or her billing practice, such as the percentage he or she takes from successful claims’ settlements. During your initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer, get a ballpark estimate for your claim’s value. Your lawyer cannot guarantee that you will recover any specific amount, but he or she can estimate its value based on the facts about the case you provide during your consultation. If your lawyer works on contingency, use this estimate figure and the percentage of successful claims your lawyer takes as commission to approximate what you will pay your lawyer for his or her services with your case.

Work with an Experienced Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

When you work with our team of personal injury lawyers at Cohen & Sinowski, you only pay if you recover compensation for your damages. To learn more about our billing practices, Georgia’s personal injury laws, and what you can expect from the personal injury claim process, contact us to schedule your initial case evaluation with a member of our firm. Disclaimer: This article is informational only and should not be seen as legal advice. You should consult with an attorney before you rely on the information presented here.
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