Nobody anticipates that they will be in a car accident. When car accidents happen, the stress and shock can make it difficult to know how to respond. If you have been in a Georgia car accident, the choices you make soon after the accident can have a big impact on the amount of money you will receive. Car insurance companies have a reputation for treating car accident victims unfairly. Many car insurance companies offer compensation amounts that are incredibly low.
Do Not Admit Fault at the Scene of Your Car Accident
At the scene of your car accident, make sure that you do not unintentionally admit fault or claim that you are not injured. The attorneys at Smith Hulsey Law recommend that you keep this car accident list in your car so you can access it easily when a car accident takes place. Follow these eight steps at the scene of your car accident and review the steps occasionally so they stay fresh in your mind.
Eight Steps to Protect Your Interests at the Car Accident Scene
- Check in with yourself to determine how you feel from the top of your head down to your toes. Ask your passengers to check how they feel, as well. Evaluate whether or not it is safe to exit your vehicle. If exiting the vehicle is safe, step out with your passengers and try to bend, stretch, and walk.
- Call 911 for emergency medical services. The phone operator will often ask if you or your passengers are injured. Do not answer this question by saying that no one is injured or hurt. If you state that nobody is hurt, you may be forfeiting your claim to compensation. A better answer is to say that you are not sure if anyone is hurt. Tell the operator that you would like yourself and all of your passengers receive an evaluation by a paramedic.
- Do not apologize to your passengers for the accident. Do not discuss why or how you think the accident occurred. Do not admit to any wrongdoing or tell your passengers that you were on your phone or distracted when the accident occurred. You can ask other passengers if they are hurt but do not tell passengers that you are not hurt.
- Evaluate the car accident scene for witnesses. Witnesses can be essential in proving that the other driver’s negligence caused the car accident. If you see any witnesses, collect their contact information. Look around to identify any cameras inside or outside of parking lots or storefronts.
- Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene. Be sure to take pictures of all exterior and interior damage to all of the vehicles. Take pictures of landmarks, traffic lights, and signs, guard rails. Taking a photo of the resting positions of the motor vehicles is essential. If you see any tire marks, take a picture of them and include the position of the cars in the photo, if possible. Finally, take pictures of any injuries you or your passengers received, such as marks, swelling, burns, cuts, or bruises.
- Place your motor vehicle registration and car insurance information in a folder that you can easily access from your glovebox. When law enforcement officers ask you what happened, do not admit fault. Do not speculate as to what you think caused the accident. Instead, only tell the officers what you are absolutely certain to be true. Report all of your symptoms to the police, the paramedics and the health care staff of the hospital.
- Unless you are 100% sure that you have no injuries, it is wise to at least go to the hospital. The staff at the hospital can check you over for any injuries and get x-rays to ensure you have not fractured any bones. The shock and adrenaline that occurs after a car accident make it difficult to know the extent of your injuries. Many of our clients think they are fine after their car accident but begin to feel pain when they arrive home. If you need to do so, go to the hospital a day or a few days after the accident. It is better to go a few days later than to never go at all.
- Contact an experienced Gainesville, Georgia personal injury attorney.
Eight Steps to Take After a Car Accident
The steps you take after a car accident can greatly affect your chances at a good settlement for your personal injury claim.
- If you visited the emergency room after the accident, attend all recommended follow-up visits. Keep making regular visits to your doctor, pain management provider, chiropractor, and physical therapist.
- Notify your own motor vehicle insurance company on the same day that the car accident occurred or ASAP after the accident. Under Georgia law, car insurance companies cannot increase your premiums as a result of an accident caused by another person. Some insurance providers offer “med pay” that automatically pays initial medical bills. Use the med-pay and seek reimbursement later. If the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, it can be important to notify your insurance company to meet the often short reporting deadline to receive uninsured motorist insurance.
- Do not give your own insurance carrier or the other driver’s insurance carrier a recorded statement without consulting with your lawyer.
- Keep a journal and report your pain and symptoms on a daily basis. Write down all costs associated with the car accident. Log any days you need to miss work or other engagements due to your injuries.
- Request a copy of your car accident report from Georgia law enforcement officers.
- Continue to take photos of your cuts, scars, swelling, and injuries as they progress after surgery. These photos can be invaluable to your attorney.
- Visit the tow truck yard to take a picture of the vehicles at the accident if you did not take photos at the scene. If necessary, go back to the scene of the accident and take any photos you were unable to get.
- Contact an experienced Georgia car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. Doing so will help you avoid making potentially costly mistakes. The attorneys at Smith Hulsey Law have earned several million dollars plus judgments on behalf of their clients. Our clients regularly write reviews satisfied reviews and recommend our law firm to friends and family. Contact our Gainesville personal injury law firm today to schedule your initial consultation.