If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may be quite shaken up in the immediate aftermath. Things can be confusing and unclear. You may know who caused it, or you might not know what happened at all. It’s important to take a deep breath and remain calm so that you can attend to any immediate concerns, such as serious injuries, avoid making the problem worse with anger or panic, avoid saying anything that might be construed as an admission (don’t apologize, for example), and to ensure that you take all of the steps that will be so important later when proving your case.
Gathering Evidence Should Start at the Scene of the Accident
One of the important steps that should follow a Georgia auto accident is to start gathering evidence right away. Even if you’re not quite sure who is at fault or what exactly happened, you can do much to strengthen your future auto accident claim by taking photos of all of the damage, the injuries, the position of the vehicles, traffic signs, and anything else that might be relevant.
You can also gather evidence at the scene of the accident by getting the other driver’s insurance information and contact details. Get the contact information of any witnesses, too, including those who may have rendered assistance in the aftermath of the accident.
Contact the police and/or emergency medical care, as needed. If you are physically able to remain at the scene of the accident until police arrive (assuming you have not been taken straight to the hospital), then do so. Never leave the scene of an accident because you don’t think it’s serious or because you think you’ve done all that you need to do. Stay until police arrive, and give your statement without discussing fault. The responding officers may end up being witnesses in your case, later.
Gathering Evidence After You Leave the Scene of the Accident
While you will certainly want to get as much evidence as you can while you are still at the scene of the accident, the process of gathering evidence does not end there. One thing you can do at the scene or immediately after leaving the scene, is to write down everything you remember of the incident. You want to do this as soon as possible, so that your memories are still fresh and as thorough as possible.
Beyond that, you should seek medical attention right away and keep copies of all medical documents, reports, bills, etc. Follow up with your doctor and do everything that you are told to do from a medical standpoint. Don’t do anything that you are told not to do. If you are instructed not to lift heavy items, then don’t lift them. If you are told that you can’t return to work yet, then don’t. If you are prescribed medication, then take it. Do not deviate from your doctor’s instructions.
You should also keep any receipts for out of pocket expenses, such as medication costs. Further, if you require surgery or physical rehabilitation, you need to keep records of this too. If your vehicle is damaged, then you can obtain estimates of the cost of repairing that damage or evidence that the vehicle has been totaled. If you get the necessary repairs done, then keep the receipts.
Many people are traumatized by auto accidents and require mental health care services to address the psychological impact of the incident. You should not hesitate to seek out psychological care from a licensed psychologist, social worker, and/or psychiatrist. Keep any receipts from these visits, and if you are prescribed medication for anxiety, depression, or anything else related to the trauma of the accident, then you should keep records and receipts for these medications, too.
How an Attorney Will Use the Evidence that You’ve Obtained
If you are diligent with gathering evidence, then you will already be a step ahead when you contact a Georgia auto accident attorney to help you to prove liability and the value of your damages. If you have not gathered this evidence yourself, then your attorney can help to do so. Still, the more that you can do beforehand, the better off you’ll be. The evidence will be organized and thorough, and you will save time and money on the process of gathering such evidence later.
Your attorney will be able to evaluate your evidence, contact your witnesses, and use this information to argue your case for recovering compensation from the at-fault driver. Not only will your evidence help to establish liability, it will also establish your economic and non-economic damages.
If you’ve been in a determined Georgia auto accident lawyer, contact the Law Offices of John B. Jackson & Associates to find out more about the process of gathering evidence and how we can help you prove your case.