Steps to Take after Being Involved in a Car Accident

After a car accident, it’s important to know what steps to take to protect your health, property, and legal rights. According to the State Bar of Georgia, “doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time may save a life, and it will often avoid legal problems” when you pursue compensation from insurance companies and at-fault parties. Below are recommended steps to take after being involved in a car accident.

Step 1 – Stop Your Car

After a collision, stop your car as soon as possible without further endangering any person or property. Never leave the scene of an accident in which you or your car is involved. If you fail to stop, you may face criminal penalties, even if the accident was not your fault.

Step 2 – Assist Any Injured People

Call 9-1-1. To avoid delay, give the operator your exact location and the direction you were traveling. Give first aid only if you are qualified. You may cover an injured person with a coat or blanket, or apply pressure to stop bleeding in an emergency.

Step 3 – Call the Police

Even if there are no serious injuries, you will want to call the police after an accident. In a city or town, call the city police, for example the Atlanta Police Department. In a rural area, call the Georgia State Patrol or the sheriff’s office.

Step 4 – Identify the Other Driver & Any Witnesses

Take down the names and addresses of all people involved in the accident, including passengers, and any witnesses. If possible, obtain the name of the insurance company covering the other driver.

Step 5 – Take Notes

Take your own written notes on all significant circumstances concerning the accident, such as the position of the cars and skid marks. If you have a camera, and it is safe to do so, take pictures of the scene. Keep your notes and information to yourself, and don’t comment on the accident (except for giving facts to the police).

Step 6 – See a Doctor

Serious and costly injuries are not always immediately apparent, so it’s important to see your doctor after an accident. Ask your passengers (if any) to see a doctor as well.

Step 7 – Notify Your Insurance Company

As soon as possible, call your insurance representative and send written notice of the accident. Failure to notify your insurance company in writing within a reasonable time may give your insurance company reason to deny your claim for benefits. But do not give detailed information about the accident until you speak with an attorney. Your own insurance company may end up having an objective that is very different from yours. (e.g. paying uninsured motorist benefits to you.)

Step 8 – Talk to a Personal Injury Attorney

An experienced personal injury attorney is best equipped to advise you as to your rights and the fairness of any settlement offer made to you after an accident—whether from your own insurance company or another party’s insurance company. A lawyer can also determine if a personal injury lawsuit is in your best interest.

We’re Here to Help with Your Car Accident

One of the biggest mistakes that accident victims make is assuming that their injuries will go away. If that ends up being the case, great. But car accident injuries tend to linger and don’t always get better. It’s good to have spoken with an attorney early in the process, so that your right to compensation is both protected and maximized. The experienced legal team at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC is here to help you with your car accident. Contact our office today at (404) 460-0101 to speak with a lawyer at no charge to you.

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