On average, a car accident happens every two minutes in Georgia—odds that are not in any Georgian’s favor when they get behind the wheel. Whether you live in Atlanta or elsewhere in the state, at some point you can expect to be involved in an auto accident. That is why it is vital to know what to do in the aftermath of a collision to protect yourself, your loved ones, and any passengers in your car.
By taking proper action, you can make the legal aspects of an auto accident much easier to handle. With your best interests in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 11 vital steps every Georgia resident should take after an auto accident.
Step 1. Check For Injuries
Before you even call 911, check for injuries, ask if anyone is seriously hurt, and administer first-aid if necessary. DO NOT comment about the facts of the accident to the other driver or anyone else involved. If they say anything to you about it, write it down as soon as possible.
Step 2. Call 911 to Report the Accident, File a Police Report, and Obtain Emergency Medical Assistance
This step is legally required in Georgia if anyone involved in the car accident sustained injuries as a result. However, even if it appears as if no one has been injured, call 911 immediately. Not only should you file an accident report with the police, you should also seek medical attention. After you’ve spoken to law enforcement, who will arrive on the scene with an ambulance, get to the nearest hospital. Never assume you or any passengers in your car have emerged from the incident unscathed, regardless of the absence of pain or discomfort. Let the medical professionals assess your condition and provide appropriate care. Not only will this prevent further injuries, it will also start a paper trail for a possible personal injury case.
Step 3. Secure the Area While You Wait
If you can, examine the area in and around the accident site to keep everyone safe while you wait for the police. That means checking vehicles for oil and gas leaks, looking out for additional traffic, and ensuring there are no other hazards like damaged power lines in the accident area.
Accident sites can quickly go from bad to worse if you do not maintain situational awareness of your surroundings. It’s in the best interest of everyone involved to identify any additional hazards until the first responders arrive.
Step 4. Look for Eyewitnesses to the Car Accident
Often, eyewitnesses to a motor vehicle accident stop to offer assistance. Take a moment to identify any eyewitnesses and ask them to describe what they saw. If they are willing, get their name, address, phone number, and email. Their testimony could be invaluable to you later.
Step 5. Take Photos of All Vehicles Involved from Every Angle
Use your phone to take pictures of all vehicles involved in the collision from every angle to provide a critical piece of evidence an insurance company cannot dispute. Should you consult with a personal injury attorney who recommends filing a lawsuit, these images will offer valuable evidence to support your case.
Step 6. Gather Photographic Evidence of the Scene
In addition to taking photos of your car and all other vehicles involved, it is important to photograph the accident site, including any skid marks created by rapidly decelerated vehicles. Use the voice recording feature on your cell phone or call yourself and leave a voicemail detailing the events leading up to the accident. You can use this recording to help keep events fresh in your memory.
Step 7. Take Pictures of Visible Signs of Injury Like Cuts, Scrapes, and Bruises
In the aftermath of a jarring accident, the last thing you or anyone else affected may want to do is take photos of their injuries. However, as with the vehicles and surrounding scene, these images will provide crucial evidence you may need later.
Step 8. Exchange Information
Exchange insurance and driver’s licenses information with the other party involved, but never admit to them that the accident was your fault.
Step 9. Talk to the Police
When the police officers arrive on the scene, do not tell them you are alright. As calmly as you can, explain the facts about what transpired and describe your injuries in detail. Any passengers should do the same before you go to the nearest hospital for a medical evaluation.
Step 10. Hire an Attorney
Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney after you call the police. An experienced personal injury attorney will ensure the fallout from the accident is mitigated as much as possible. Do NOT give any recorded statements and do NOT talk to the insurance company without speaking to your attorney first.
Step 11. Stay in Contact with Your Attorney and Follow Their Counsel
If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve done everything in your power to make sure the aftermath of this unfortunate event unfolds as smoothly as possible. There’s nothing left to do but stay in contact with your lawyer, heed their counsel, take care of yourself, and wait.
Need a Car Accident Attorney in Atlanta?
When it comes to steps 10 and 11, you can count on Greathouse Trial Law to defend your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly by insurance companies. Get in touch with our team today at (678) 310-2827. And be sure to download our free guide, 5 Costly Mistakes Georgians Make When Injured In An Accident, here.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.