Car accidents are frightening, whether it is a minor fender bender or a severe collision. Hopefully, you will never be in a car accident, but if you are, there are specific steps you should take to make sure that you get your maximum compensation. Here are five steps you should take after being in a car accident.
1. Stop driving, pull over, and turn on your hazards.
Regardless of if the accident is big or small, you should always stop and pull over to the shoulder. Being in a car accident is jarring and may catch you off guard, but you must remember that you are still on the road. By pulling over, you won’t block traffic, and you won’t be at risk of being hit by another driver who hasn’t noticed your car. Putting on your hazards will also make sure that other drivers are aware of your vehicle.
If the accident is severe or you can’t move your car, make sure to turn on your hazard lights and get out of the vehicle. Once you’re out of the car, you should move as far away from oncoming traffic as you can. Stay aware of your surroundings so that an oncoming vehicle doesn’t hit you.
2. Check your passengers and yourself for injuries.
You should check for injuries after pulling over to the shoulder or getting away from traffic. Remember that injuries may not be immediately noticeable, especially if you or your passengers are full of adrenaline. Take a deep breath and scan your body to make sure that there aren’t any significant injuries. You should also check your passengers for any injuries.
If you or your passengers have severe injuries and can’t move, stay put and try not to move. Call 911 or ask a bystander to call for help and wait for first responders to arrive to assess the situation and give proper treatment.
3. Call 911.
Even if there are no significant injuries, you should always call 911 to get in contact with the police and other first responders. Calling the police is essential and required by Georgia law whenever a crash causes more than $500 in property damage, or there are injuries or fatalities due to a car accident.
It may seem unnecessary to call the police after a minor fender bender, but filing a police report can provide proof of the date and time of the car accident. Filing a report will also give an account of the way that the accident occurred. Having a police report can help you when you file an insurance claim or if you need to file a lawsuit.
If you neglect to call 911 after an accident, you still have up to 72 hours to file a police report after the car accident. However, it’s always better to call first responders right after the accident happens so that the report doesn’t have incorrect or missing details.
4. Exchange information with the other driver.
After you’ve checked for injuries and called 911, you should exchange information with the other driver. While the police will likely get this information, it is helpful to have it for both your records and if you need to file a lawsuit. Here is the most critical information you can exchange with the other driver:
- Full name
- Contact information
- Insurance company and policy numbers
- Driver’s licenses
- License plate numbers
- Type, color, and model of vehicles
- Location of accident
It may be tempting to apologize for the accident, especially in such a tense environment. However, try to keep conversation to a minimum and choose your words carefully. You’ll want to avoid discussing fault.
5. Take photos and make an accurate record.
If you’re able, you should take as many photos of the car accident as you can. Document the damage to the vehicle and any injuries that you may have. Take pictures of the accident from different angles to show the damage to both cars. It may also be a good idea to take a photo of the other car’s license plate. Taking pictures is essential to help your insurance claim and give professionals an accurate idea of what happened. You’ll also want to ask the police officers where you can get a copy of the accident report.
When police officers arrive, you’ll want to make sure that you give the most accurate statement that you can. If you don’t know something, tell the officer that you aren’t sure. If they ask if you are injured, say you are not sure. Injuries from car accidents can show up hours after the collision. Do not speculate, guess, or misstate any facts. It is okay to tell the officers that you aren’t sure of something.
6. Go to the doctor.
It may take hours or days for you to realize that you were injured in a car accident. Whether or not the accident was minor, it is always best to seek medical attention to confirm that you don’t have any significant injuries. Whiplash and spinal cord injuries can occur even in accidents that involve a minor impact. Additionally, if you lost consciousness for a short period, you may have suffered a concussion.
Always visit the hospital or your primary care physician immediately after an accident. You’ll also want to follow through on your doctor’s orders to best care for your injury, no matter how small.
7. File a claim.
After a car accident, you will need to file a claim with your insurance provider. You may want to call your insurance agent while you’re still at the scene of the accident so that they can tell you precisely what they will need to process your claim. Working with your insurance company can help you get your vehicle repaired, and your injuries are taken care of as smoothly and quickly as possible. However, do not give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster.
8. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Atlanta.
Being injured can be complicated, and you’ll need to file a claim as soon as possible so that you can get the maximum compensation for your case. Navigating the legal system to file a personal injury claim can be complex, and you shouldn’t do it alone. Instead, seek the help of an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer.
We know that accidents can happen quickly, and you may have difficulty remembering what to do. Just remember to stay calm and to call 911. Car accidents can get complicated after an accident. That’s why here at Greathouse Trial Law, we want to help you with your claim and negotiate with your insurance company to get a settlement that will meet your needs.
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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 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 based on 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.