The Carrollton, Georgia auto accident attorneys at John B. Jackson & Associates get a lot of questions about what you should do after an auto accident, so we’ve compiled the top ten steps that you should take in virtually every auto accident that occurs in the state of Georgia. Of course, we know that all auto accidents have their own unique details and circumstances, so you may not be able to follow these tips, precisely.
Still, when it comes to the most important steps and decisions that need to be made, everyone could use a little guidance on how to respond to the aftermath of an auto accident.
1) Report the Accident to the Police – Don’t Assume Someone Else Has
It is very common for people to assume that someone has already called 911 after a Carrollton, Georgia auto accident.
In fact, this is so common of an assumption that sometimes, the police and emergency medical care are not notified in time to respond as quickly as they need to. It is essential to avoid making this mistake and to either call 911 yourself or ask one specific person to do so. This means that you can’t simply shout, ‘Call 911!’ and think that somebody will.
There is a common mentality among witnesses of auto accidents that someone else took care of this, and when everyone thinks that, nobody does it. If you direct one person, specifically, to do so, then this one person is more likely to make the call. Further, you should make the call, if you can do so, yourself, even if it is likely that someone else has. It is better for multiple people to report the incident than it is for nobody to report the incident.
Further, you might not think it’s necessary to call the police if the accident is minor. It is still wise to do so, so that you will have a police report and a responding officer as a witness. In cases where someone is injured, no matter how minimal the injuries are, or where there is greater than $500 in property damage, you are legally required to contact the police.
2) Avoid Moving Your Vehicle Unless Necessary – And Get Photos Before You Do
It is essential to keep the vehicles exactly where they are after an auto accident until the police arrive. This is because the police report needs to include the placement of the vehicles. However, there are some cases where it may be necessary to move the vehicle to prevent further damage and further collisions. If this is the case, you should absolutely take clear photographs of the position of the vehicles before you move them. You will need this evidence when it comes to proving how the incident occurred and where the vehicles came to a stop.
3) Gather the Contact Information of All Eye Witnesses & Anyone Who Helped
In most auto accidents, there will be witnesses who either saw what happened or rendered aid in the immediate aftermath of the collision. You need to gather the contact information of anyone who saw the accident occur and anyone who rendered aid after the incident. These witnesses may be extremely valuable when it comes time to prove your case.
4) Get the Insurance Information of Other Drivers and Notify Your Insurance Company
Whenever you get into an auto accident in Carrollton, Georgia, you need to gather the contact and insurance information of all other drivers who were involved. You may not know exactly who was at-fault, or you may be confident about which driver caused the accident. Either way, get the insurance information of every other driver. An investigation may prove that you are incorrect in your assumption of who was at fault, and you’ll want to have the contact information of all other drivers, just in case. You will also need to give your insurance information to all other drivers, and notify your own insurance company that an accident has occurred. This is important because you agreed to do this when you purchased your insurance policy, and failing to do so could result in a discontinuation of coverage.
5) Take as Many Photos of the Accident Scene as You Can or Ask Someone to Do So
If you are capable of taking photos, then you should get as many as possible from the scene of the accident. You need pictures of the positions of the vehicles, the property damage, the license plates, the injuries, the road conditions, any signs or signals in the area, and anything else that might turn out to be relevant in proving what happened and how the accident occurred, as well as the severity of damages and injuries.
6) Avoid Apologizing or Discussing Who May Have Been At Fault for the Accident
It is extremely common for someone to know that they were not at fault, but to apologize anyway, because it seems like the natural thing to say when someone is hurt. It is also common for someone to think that they were at fault, and maybe they were partially at fault, but to not realize that the other driver was more at fault or entirely at fault. An auto accident can be a very confusing and complex situation. Another common mistake is that of confronting the driver whom you believe is at fault. The best thing you can do is to not discuss fault at all and not apologize to anyone or accuse anyone. Fault is something that can be discussed later. For now, you should focus on making sure that everyone is taken care of and that the scene is adequately documented through police reports and photographs.
7) See a Physician for a Full Physical Even if You Don’t Go to the Emergency Room
In some cases, your injuries may be severe enough to require emergency attention. If you are offered an ambulance ride, take it. You may think that you are uninjured or that your injuries are not severe. This is especially common when there are others who are clearly far more injured than you are. It may be that someone else is covered in blood or suffering broken bones, and you will naturally be more concerned for their wellbeing than your own if you are suffering nothing more than a bit of neck pain (for example). Yet, the adrenaline of an auto accident and the distractions of the injuries of others can cause you to not realize how seriously injured you are, yourself. Seek a full medical evaluation as quickly as possible after an auto accident. In this way, you will be sure to catch any injuries right away, begin treatment for the best possible outcome, and easily prove that your injuries resulted from the accident.
8) Do Everything Your Doctor Tells You to Do and Don’t Return to Work Until Physically Able
Your doctor is going to give you detailed instructions on how to respond to your injuries. This may include medication that you must take, work restrictions, medical devices you need to use, surgeries that may be required, and much more. Do everything your doctor says, and go to all of your follow up appointments. Don’t return to work until your doctor releases you to do so. Do not overlook your own physical health because you are more concerned for the physical health of others or because you don’t think your injuries are that severe.
9) Contact a Carrollton, Georgia Auto Accident Attorney Right Away
You don’t want to face the complicated legal issues and requirements to provide evidence without assistance and legal advice. You will find it far easier to settle your claim, prove your case, and recover maximum compensation for your injuries if you have the representation of a Carrollton, Georgia auto accident attorney like those at John B. Jackson & Associates. Call today for a free consultation and learn more about your options.