Steps to take after a minor car accident in Georgia
When you experience a car accident, it is important to understand that while it may seem like a minor event at the time, an injury can still present itself after the incident is over. Don’t assume that all is well simply because you feel fine at that moment.
Any automobile accident, even one that doesn’t seem like a major crash, should be taken seriously. There are several steps that every driver and passenger, when applicable, should take immediately following the incident. When you’ve been involved in a car accident of any degree, make sure you follow these guidelines set out below.
1. Check for injuries
While not all injuries are apparent right away, if you do notice a clear and immediate injury, getting the proper care for such injuries is important and should be looked after immediately. With any apparent injury, medical assistance should be sought at the scene of the accident. Calling 911 can summon the required assistance promptly.
Also stay alert for any health changes over time, since injuries may appear slowly due to the adrenaline and fear from the initial crash that may numb or dull injuries inside the body.
2. Take photos and/or videos of the accident promptly
Once any immediate injury has been assessed, taking photos of the cars at the crash scene right after the accident can be a critical piece of evidence later used to determine fault. Take photos or videos of both cars from many different angles, as well as photos of the street and surrounding scene.
3. Move vehicles off the street when possible
If your car is still operational, move the vehicle off of the highway or roadway to allow the continued flow of traffic. If there is a shoulder available, pull off as far as you safely can. Better yet, if there is an accessible parking area, this would be the ideal spot to keep the streets free from disabled vehicles and prevent further injury to yourself from passing cars.
4. Call authorities to file an accident report
No matter what the other driver suggests or demands, always call the proper law enforcement authorities, however minor it may appear to be.
In Atlanta, 3-1-1 is the primary phone number for government information and non-emergency services—or you may dial the Atlanta Police Department’s non-emergency line at (404) 614-6544.
After being involved in any car accident, you can also dial 9-1-1 at any time to get a police officer dispatched to the scene—even if it’s not an emergency. Tell the dispatcher that you were involved in a minor collision and that nobody appears to have been injured. This way, they know to only send a police officer to the scene to write the accident report, rather than call an ambulance as well.
Don’t accept any agreements to keep it off the record and never accept any cash payment to let it go. It is vital to safeguard your legal rights for both insurance and personal reasons. Your insurance, likewise, will not cover damages in most situations without an official accident report being filed.
5. Don’t accept or admit blame for the crash
While you should never offer the other driver a statement of fault, you also should not apologize for the accident, as this implies you accept fault. Stay calm and courteous while you await proper authorities to the scene.
6. Get contact and insurance information
Once you have moved off the roadway, when possible, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver right away. Keep the exchange professional and on-topic. Be sure to get their name, address, a contact phone number and write down their insurance information. Include the company and its phone number, as well as their policy number.
If there are passengers in the other vehicle, ask for their contact information as well, should they need to provide statements at a later time.
7. Stay at the accident scene until cleared to leave
Never flee an accident scene once law enforcement has been called, no matter how minor the incident feels to you. Leaving the scene is actually a criminal offense and you should remain with your vehicle unless your injuries require you to be taken by ambulance to the hospital for treatment. In this case, law enforcement will be able to contact you there.
8. Notify your auto insurer
Once initial actions have been taken, call your own car insurance provider right away and give them the information on the accident. No matter which driver is considered at-fault, you need to notify your insurer immediately to protect yourself and any claims made against your carrier.
9. Consult an Atlanta car accident lawyer
You may have injuries that don’t present right away. There may be more costly damages than what it seems once car repairs begin.
Calling a lawyer that specializes in auto accidents can make a huge difference in the outcome of an insurance claim and what can be awarded to you after the initial shock of the accident subsides.
Never take on an insurance company alone. They are looking out for themselves and will offer the least amount possible to settle and close a claim. Our team at Scholle Law will look out for you and your rights and ensure you receive a fair offer from the insurance company involved.