While cars have become safer over the years, distractions while driving have increased with cell phones and other technology, and injuries sustained in car accidents occur every day throughout the U.S. If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are critical steps you can take to ensure that your rights are protected, and you can maximize your settlement if you qualify.
What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident?
Car accidents leave little time to stop and think, so being prepared with steps to before an accident occurs will ensure you know what to do when you are involved in one. Knowing how to react, what to say, and things to avoid after an accident can have a large impact on your settlement.
Here are a few things to do after being involved in a car crash.
Check for injuries and call 911
If you are able to do so, it’s important to call 911 immediately. Let them know where you are and what injuries you might have sustained, so they can send an ambulance if necessary.
Begin Gathering Testimony
Again, if you are able to safely exit the vehicle, begin recording the scene. Take photos of your vehicle, the area around the vehicle, and the other vehicle involved. Take a video and record your thoughts and findings immediately. Once bystanders and other drivers begin to stop and help, the scene of the accident can quickly change, so it’s imperative to take any records early on.
Work with Police to Provide a Firsthand Account
When police arrive, they will begin asking crucial questions to piece together what happened. They may also ask to see your registration, driver’s license and proof of insurance for the vehicle. You’re required to provide the items requested. You can offer the police officers any proof you gathered to assist in the investigation.
Fill Out the Accident Report
Georgia car accident reports must include a description of the accident based on witness statements, how the cars were found after the accident, any damage incurred on the vehicles and, sometimes photo records. These accident reports mat also include the officer’s opinion about what led to the accident. You may request a copy of the accident report from the Georgia Department of Public Safety.
Call Your Insurance Company
You will want to quickly complete a claim with your insurance company for any damages to the vehicle and to cover medical bills for any injuries you experienced during the accident. Many insurance companies will ask to see photos and records of medical findings, so keep meticulous records and have them ready to present.
Know Your Rights
Georgia is a third-party liability state, meaning victims of car accidents can pursue the at-fault drive for damages. First, file a claim with your own insurance company—called a first-party claim. Then you may also file a damage or personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company—called a third-party claim. You may also file a suit against the at-fault driver with a local accident lawyer.
Hire an Attorney
While some car accidents can be handled without representation, others may require the expertise of an auto accident lawyer in Gwinnett County who has extensive experience in these types of lawsuits. If you would like to explore your options for settlement after an auto accident, Gwinnett Accident Lawyer, R Michael Coker, specializes in personal injury and car accidents, and will help guide you in how to handle the responsible parties and hold them accountable.
Reach out to our office today for a Free Case Evaluation.