Being in a car accident is shocking and stressful. Even if no one was hurt, it can be difficult to calm your thoughts and follow the right steps. If you or anyone else was injured in a car accident, it is even more important to know what to do after being in a car accident in Georgia.
Immediately after a car accident in Georgia, follow these steps to protect yourself and others:
You should always call 911 to report a car accident, even if you do not immediately see any injuries or if you think it was a minor accident. Request medical assistance for anyone who was impacted in the accident, and request that the police come and take an accident report. It is extremely difficult to pursue a personal injury or insurance claim in Georgia without a police report.
Remain at the scene and wait for police and/or paramedics to arrive, even if you think it was a minor accident. Try to ensure that other people, including witnesses, also remain at the scene. While waiting, do not discuss the car accident with other drivers or people at the scene; anything you discuss about how or why the accident occurred may later affect your case or cause an unnecessary argument.
Check yourself and your passengers carefully for injuries. A person may be in shock and not realize that they have an injury. If someone has been injured, do not move them; wait for paramedics to arrive.
Try to get the name and contact information of any potential witnesses. Witnesses may have seen the accident from a different perspective and have more information about what happened than you do. Police often believe impartial witnesses more than they believe drivers who were involved in an accident, and their testimony can be critical in determining liability. If witnesses are present, they should speak directly with the police, but some witnesses will leave before the police arrive. Having their contact information may later help your case.
It is always important to document your damage with photographs. While at the accident scene, take pictures of the roadway, the lighting conditions, the positions of the vehicles, any tire marks, or other relevant information. This type of physical evidence is quickly lost after an accident, so taking pictures will preserve the information for your case.
If anyone has been injured, and it is possible without causing discomfort, take pictures of their injuries before paramedics arrive and provide care.
You will also want to take pictures of the damage to your vehicle, but that can be done later and doesn’t need to happen at the scene of the accident.
Georgia law requires both drivers to exchange their contact and insurance information after an accident. If police are present, they will also gather this information.
When the police arrive, answer their questions clearly and honestly. Remember, however, that if you admit partial fault or liability for the accident, this will be included in the police report and may affect your claim.
If you were physically impacted during the accident, tell the police officer that you may have been injured and will seek medical care. Some injuries are not apparent until well after the accident, and it is better to be safe with your health. If you tell the police officer at the scene that you were not injured, it may later affect your ability to sue for legitimate and necessary medical care.
Many car accident injuries are not immediately obvious and don’t show up until hours or days afterward. Even if you feel fine and do not want emergency medical treatment, make an appointment with your doctor and have a medical examination after a car accident.
Be mindful of symptoms that may show up later, like bruising, soreness, neck pain, or headaches. Take pictures of bruises and abrasions in order to help your case.
The immediate aftermath of a car accident is a frantic and stressful time. You may not be thinking about insurance forms, property damage, or liability claims. However, making the right choices at the moment will help you prove your case or defend yourself later, and knowing what to do will protect your rights in the weeks and months to follow. Georgia law allows you two years from the date of an accident in which to file a personal injury claim and recover expenses related to medical care, lost wages, or other damages. If you have been injured in a car accident, the experienced legal team at Fry | Goehring will fight for your rights and help you recover everything you deserve. Contact us today by visiting our website or calling 404-969-1284.