Being involved in an automobile accident can be a traumatic experience.Immediately dial 911 and get emergency assistance on its way. Move to a safe location but do not leave the scene of the accident. Your focus should be on medical attention and gathering information to provide to your insurance company.
Once emergency personnel arrive on the scene, you should shift your thinking toward your accident claim:
Dealing with the aftermath: an Atlanta Automobile Accident
- Do not admit wrongdoing – not to your passengers, emergency personnel, police, witnesses, or later, your insurance representative. Do not admit wrongdoing to the other party. Do not talk with the other party outside of sharing your driver’s license number, insurance company’s name and telephone number. Do not disclose your insurance policy details. Obtain this same information from the other party. The fact is, even if you suspect that you might share in the blame for the accident, do not admit fault. Being involved in an accident, even a minor “fender bender”, affects your emotional state and as a result, you may not be thinking clearly. This is not the time to accept or place blame or discuss any potential settlement.
- Get checked by a medical professional at the scene or go to the doctor immediately. Even if you are unsure if you are hurt, go and let a doctor examine you. Although you may feel fine at the scene or think your injuries are minor, it could be days or even weeks before symptoms such as pain or discomfort appear. Rule of thumb – If the airbag in your vehicle deployed, seek medical attention immediately. (Powder from a deployed airbag may cause small burns.)
- Document your accident at the scene with pictures. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, damage to the vehicles, skid marks, road signs, etc. at the scene. As soon as possible, have a friend take pictures of your injuries. Cuts and bruises heal quickly so documenting any injuries as quickly as possible will provide photos that will be valuable evidence in the event you must hire an attorney to obtain a fair settlement.
- Document your accident at the scene with written notes. Writing down the details of the accident will assist you with your insurance claim. Include detailed notes on medical treatment administered at the scene or at the doctor’s office if you opted to seek medical attention after the accident. Include copies of prescriptions, etc. so that you can get full reimbursement for any medical expenditures.
- Request a copy of the Police Report from the Officer on the scene. He will instruct you on how to properly obtain the Report within a few days of the accident.
- Contact your insurance agency and file your claim.
- Contact your personal injury attorney. Throughout the settlement process: do not sign any paperwork without having it reviewed by your attorney. Having an attorney direct you through the claims and settlement process is the best way to be certain that your rights are protected. If you share in the blame for the accident, financial damages can be limited by your attorney.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an Atlanta automobile accident, you should contact James Rice Law as soon as possible to understand your rights; contact us or call 404-800-5940 to learn more.