At the scene, work to protect your rights by creating a record of what happened—including photos. In the days after the accident, report the accident to your insurance company, follow up with doctors, and schedule a consultation with a good car accident lawyer.
The actions you take in the aftermath of an accident can help you get a better financial recovery for your injuries. Getting a police report, talking with witnesses and seeing a doctor right away will help you make a strong insurance company claim. But the single most important thing you can do is to talk to a personal injury lawyer.
Should I call the police after a car accident?
Yes. In fact, Georgia law requires you to report accidents to the police if there are injuries or significant property damage. An officer will come to the scene, look at the damage, and talk to you, the other driver, and anyone who witnessed the accident. The officer will prepare an accident report that verifies that an accident occurred. It may also include the officer’s opinion about who was at fault.
The police report is an essential part of your insurance claim. Involving the police shows that you followed the law, and it can sometimes help you get more money in damages. For example, if the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you may be eligible for additional punitive damages. But without a police report, it will be hard to prove the other driver’s impaired condition.
What else should I do at the accident scene?
If you are not severely injured, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights and document what happened. This helps you make a stronger claim.
- Exchange insurance and driver’s license information with the other drivers. Take down the other driver’s name, address and driver’s license number. Get the name, policy number and phone number of the insurance company. Or, use your cell phone camera to photograph the license and insurance card.
- Take pictures. Use your cell phone to take photos and/or video of the accident scene, the damage to the vehicles and any injuries. This graphic evidence of what happened can speak far louder than words alone.
- Talk to witnesses. Bystanders and people who stopped to help may have seen the accident or may have witnessed events that led up to it, including another driver’s aggressive or erratic driving. Find out what they saw and get their contact information.
I wasn’t badly hurt. Should I still go to the doctor?
Always see a doctor after any accident. Car accident injuries aren’t always obvious from the surface, and the ones you can’t see are often the ones that develop into serious conditions. Whiplash is one example. Concussions are another. When these types of injuries aren’t treated, they get worse and take more time to heal. The sooner you see a doctor and get started on treatment, the easier your recovery is likely to be.
There is another reason to see a doctor right away. Insurance companies like to find reasons to deny injury claims. If you wait weeks or months before getting medical attention, the insurance company may accuse you of inventing or exaggerating your injury. Seeing a doctor right away shows that you took your injury seriously from the start, and this helps you make a stronger claim.
The driver who caused the accident has insurance. Why do I need a lawyer?
The other driver’s insurance is supposed to pay for your injuries and vehicle damage. But insurance companies aren’t as eager to pay claims as you might think. They are trying to make a profit for themselves, and one way they do this is to find excuses to avoid paying out any more than they have to. The other driver’s insurance company may:
- Offer you “quick money” that isn’t nearly enough to pay your costs
- Drag its feet and do nothing for months
- Try to blame you for the accident or minimize your injuries
All of this leaves you with no money to pay for your injuries and make up for time missed from work.
A good car accident lawyer knows how to force the insurance company to the bargaining table and negotiate an amount that’s fair to you. A lawyer can also handle Atlanta Georgia car accident law suits. A lawyer will build a strong case for you, sending you to doctors who can diagnose your injuries and estimate the full cost of your treatment, now and in the future. Having a lawyer on your team often means you will recover significantly more money than you would have gotten by dealing with the insurance company on your own.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
We have built our careers on helping car accident victims get the money they deserve. We never charge you anything unless we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to help you understand the right next steps for your case—with no obligation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.