Being involved in a Gainesville car accident can be disorienting and overwhelming. Even the most level-headed people might struggle to know what to do immediately after the accident. In this guide, we will offer an example of what to do at the scene of a car accident and immediately after a car accident. We recommend keeping this list in your vehicle so you can easily pull it out after a car accident.
- Check-in with your body from your head to your toes. Ask your passengers how they feel. If you are able to do so, step out of your car and see if you are able to bend, stretch, and walk. Make a mental note of any pain you experience while doing so and ask your passengers whether they feel pain.
- Call 911 as soon as possible. If the 911 operator asks if you are injured, tell them that you are not sure and would like a paramedic to see everyone, including your passengers. Keep in mind that shock often prevents people from realizing the full extent of their injuries after a car accident.
- Talk to the other driver and passengers to ask if they are injured and need assistance. But do not admit fault, apologize for the accident, say you will pay for damage, or say what you were doing when the accident happened.
- Check for witnesses to the car accident. Witness testimony can be incredibly important when it comes to proving liability. If there were witnesses in other cars or pedestrians who were walking near the accident, be sure to ask for their contact information. Look around to see if there are any storefronts with security cameras. If so, you might be able to use CCTV footage from the video cameras to prove what happened during the car accident.
- Take photos of the scene of the accident. Include photos of the interior and exterior damage of all of the vehicles and any other evidence, such as skid marks or damaged guard rails. Take photos of all of your injuries, even if you think they are small.
- Get your license and insurance ready to provide to law enforcement. Only tell law enforcement what you absolutely know happened and report all injuries and symptoms that you have to the police officers who are writing the report, the paramedics that come to the accident, and at the hospital.
- Go to the hospital if you are experiencing any symptoms. It is wise to get a thorough medical evaluation. You could have a head injury or small bone fractures that are not readily apparent. Sometimes accident symptoms show up days after the accident. Having proof of your injuries from immediately after the accident can help you prove that the car accident caused your injuries.
- Contact a Gainesville lawyer as soon as possible. Speaking to an experienced Gainesville car accident lawyer before you speak to an insurance adjuster can help increase your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries. We will help you craft a truthful statement and make sure you do not unintentionally admit fault.
Checklist for After the Car Accident
Once you arrive home, you might be wondering what to do next. You are probably overwhelmed about the accident and worried about recovering compensation. Following these steps will help you preserve your claim for compensation. The weeks immediately after a car accident are crucial when it comes to securing a high-quality settlement for your personal injury.
Follow Your Doctor’s Instructions to the Letter
One of the biggest mistakes people make after an accident is to not follow their doctor’s instructions. Be sure to follow the instructions of the doctors at the hospital and make all of the follow-up appointments they recommend. If they suggest going to a physical therapist, be sure to book an appointment with a physical therapist. When it comes to insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits, insurance companies and defendants will use any gap in treatment as evidence to prove that the car accident did not really cause your injuries.
Notify Your Insurance Company as Soon as Possible
Many people are afraid of notifying their own insurance company. However, you should always notify your insurance company on the same day of the accident or soon after. Be sure that you do not unintentionally admit fault when contacting your insurance company. Your insurance company cannot increase your premiums when someone else caused the accident.
Use MedPay Whenever Possible
You might have “med pay” through your own insurance that will pay your medical bills automatically up to a limit without you needing to use your own health insurance. Go ahead and use med pay and do not worry about whether or not the money will come from your insurance rather than the at-fault driver’s insurance.
Speak to a Lawyer Before Giving a Recorded Statement to Your Insurance
Insurance adjusters are notorious for using initially recorded statements against the injured person. Some adjusters will claim that the initial statement proves that the car accident did not cause your injuries. At Smith Hulsey Law, we can help you prepare an accurate and helpful insurance statement.
Journal Your Symptoms and Pain Every Day and Take Photos of Your Injuries
In the aftermath of a serious car accident, it can be easy to forget all of the changes that have occurred to your body. Be sure to write down all of your pain symptoms and ways that your injuries impact your life. Take photos of all of your injuries, no matter how small or painless you think your injuries are.
Get the Police Report and Take Photos of the Accident
Georgia uses BuyCrash.Com to allow people to pay to get their car accident report faster and easier than requesting the report at your local police station. Police reports contain important information about what happened during your accident. Also, if you did not take any photos of the vehicles at the time of the accident, you can visit the tow truck yard to take pictures of the damage to your car.
Speak to an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
The sooner you speak to an experienced car accident lawyer, the better. At Smith Hulsey Law, we can help you navigate the complicated process of filing a claim for compensation after a car accident. Contact our Gainesville law firm today to schedule your free, initial consultation.