Car accidents affect millions of people each year, and can often result in serious injury or fatalities to the people involved. Luckily for victims, Georgia law allows people who are injured in car accidents that are the result of someone’s negligence to recover by bringing a personal injury claim.
After a car accident, you may be injured, confused, in shock, and uncertain about what to do next. Unfortunately, the things you say and do immediately following a car accident can have a significant impact on your ability to recover.
Here are some things that car accident victims should and should not do after being involved in an accident with another vehicle:
Do not be convinced by the other driver to not call the police. Even in situations where you think who was at fault is very clear such as in rear-end collision or when you do not think you are injured.
There is never a situation where not calling the police to the scene is advisable. The investigating officer will document the scene and determine who is legally at fault. The officer will make for a great witness for you if there is an issue of fault in your personal injury case later.
After an accident, make sure that you are okay and do not need any emergency medical attention. If you are able, check on the condition of others involved in the accident, and contact emergency medical personnel if necessary.
If you are at all injured in the accident, it is always best to agree to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. If not, go immediately to the emergency room after leaving the scene.
Failing to seek treatment at scene or immediately thereafter can be used against you later in your personal injury case. The insurance company’s lawyers will argue that your injuries you complain of at trial could not have been caused by this accident because you refused to seek any treatment at the scene.
Establishing legal liability after a car accident case requires determining who caused the accident and how it occurred. Document the names of the drivers involved, the license plate numbers of the vehicles, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, as well as any other facts that you think may be important.
If you have a camera or a phone with a camera built-in, take pictures of the scene of the accident and any damage that occurred. Finally, try and get contact information for any people who may have witnessed the accident. Witnesses are very important people to your case in the future if there is a fight over who was at fault or how strong of an impact the accident was at the time.
Make sure you or a family member reports the accident your auto insurance company and any other insurance companies that you have any coverage through. You want to make sure this is done the same day or the next day at the latest.
Failing to give your insurance company timely notice of the accident could void coverage for your injuries. Don’t give the insurance company an excuse.
Make sure you contact every insurance company you or any relatives that live with you have a policy with. This includes homeowners insurance and other auto insurance. There are many unique ways various policies that you think may not cover your accident actually do provide coverage and you don’t want to fail to put them on notice for weeks or months. Better safe than sorry.
One of the easiest ways to hurt your claim is to not diligently seek treatment if you are truly hurt. Many of us are busy or too stubborn to take care of ourselves.
If you are truly injured, seek treatment and stick with it. Missing a lot of appointments or failing to follow your treating physician’s recommendations and orders can severely hurt your claim.
If you begin the claims process on your own with the other driver’s insurance company and get to a point where you are feeling overwhelmed, do not hesitate to contact an auto accident lawyer in your area for help. If you would like to contact one of our nationally recognized attorneys, please give us a call at (770) 744-0890.