What to Do After an Accident

Tips on What to Do After an Accident

  1. Stop Your Vehicle. This may seem like common sense, but you should know that it is a crime to leave the scene of an accident that involves property damage or personal injury. Stay at the scene to wait for the police.
  2. Be Sure To Call The Police. Never assume someone else will. Even if there is no apparent property damage or injury to people, we recommend that you still call the police. Sometimes, people do not to become aware that they were injured until hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. If the other driver wants to handle things without involving the police or insurance company, I strongly recommend against it. Problems can arise with your vehicle and physical condition that were unforeseeable at the time of the accident.
  3. If Possible, Don’t Move Your Vehicle. Try not to move your vehicle until the police arrive and determine how the accident occurred. Important information and evidence can be lost by moving your vehicle before the police arrive. Of course, if it isn’t safe to leave your vehicle where it is, you should move it to a safe place. For example, you should move your vehicle if it is blocking a busy roadway.
  4. Provide Information To The Police. You have an obligation to talk to the investigating officer. Answer the officer’s questions courteously, honestly and briefly. Also, I recommend that you ask any passengers in your vehicle to be careful to accurately describe what happened.
  5. Pay Careful Attention To What You Say. Following an accident, the people involved can be upset. You could be nervous or angry. After checking on the passengers of your vehicle and other vehicles involved in the crash, try to calm down. Do not make statements of opinion at the scene. Even a statement that seems harmless could be misunderstood or misrepresented later. I recommend that you try to remember anything other people at the scene might say including the drivers and passengers of other vehicles. Try to remember the exact words they use if they say anything about how the accident occurred. Also make a mental note of where any debris or skid marks may be and try to take pictures of the scene and vehicles if you have access to a camera.
  6. If Possible, Identify Witnesses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a client if there were witnesses to their accident. They will say YES but are unable to provide me with the witnesses’ contact information because they left the scene before the police arrived. If you can, ask for the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. The police are not always able to gather this information. Often, an unbiased witness to an accident will make a substantial difference in accurately determining who was at fault.
  7. Have Your Physical Condition Checked By A Doctor. If you experience pain or feel at all unusual we recommend that you seek medical help. Waiting to seek treatment may jeopardize your health. Also, if you are not evaluated by a medical professional it could be difficult to prove later that you were injured in the accident. Because I represent injured people, my firm is familiar with doctors all over the state of Georgia. We deal with bilingual doctors who specialize in treating all types of injuries to all areas of the body. Most of our clients do not have health insurance or have any way to pay for their bills until the case is resolved. We can assist these clients in locating some of the best medical care Georgia has to offer and make sure these doctors agree to wait until the end of the case to get paid.
  8. Call an Attorney. Proceeding without legal advice is very risky. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they do this by paying you as little as they can or, sometimes, even nothing at all. Speaking to an insurance company following an accident is a risk that is not worth taking. An insurance company adjuster may try and entice you by offering you money to close your claim. If you accept the money, and sign the release, your claim is over. So, even if your injuries are worse than you expected and your bills are higher than you expected, your case is over and the insurance company will not pay any more for your injuries. Another trap is an insurance company representative may ask you to describe your injuries shortly after an accident. Let's say that you mention your back and neck but in the following weeks and months, your shoulder ends up requiring the most medical treatment. An insurance company may look at your case and say they will not consider paying for any bills or pain and suffering related to your shoulder injury because you didn’t mention it when they spoke to you initially so they don’t think the shoulder injury is related to the accident. Remember, the insurance company representatives work for the insurance companies. I’m not saying their bad people. But, the truth is that their job is to minimize the value of your claim, which, without an attorney, can be very easy to do. On the other hand, an attorney’s job is to maximize an injured victim’s recovery and protect their client’s rights. If you have an attorney, the ins co is prohibited from speaking with you about your injuries. They can only speak to your attorney about your bodily injury claim. Don’t face the insurance companies alone. Call us and have all of your questions answered. You will be faced with many difficult decisions following an accident. Without question, the most important decision will be the attorney you choose. Be sure to choose an attorney who will treat you like a family member and will allow you to put all of your stress regarding your claim on him so that you can focus solely on getting healthy again.

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