The aftermath of a car accident in Atlanta can be chaotic. When you have been injured in a car accident, you may not be sure what your next steps should be or how to make sure the liable party is held accountable for their negligence.
With this in mind, here is a comprehensive checklist you can follow after getting hurt in an Atlanta car accident. If you have additional questions surrounding your car accident case, an Atlanta car accident lawyer with our firm can help you.
Call 911 and the Police
Immediately following your car accident in Atlanta, call 911 and law enforcement. Even in situations where you may suspect that your accident may be considered “minor,” calling police to the scene of the accident and obtaining a medical evaluation are going to be in your best interests.
The Police Report Will Serve As Evidence When You File Your Case
The police will be able to document important information, including:
- The location and time of the accident
- All the parties involved in the crash
- Witness names and statements
- Specific details about the positioning of the vehicles involved in the accident
- The injuries that any victim sustained
- Who they determine is responsible for the accident or what caused the accident to occur in the first place
The information that law enforcement details in your police report could be a crucial piece of evidence that helps you recover compensation via an insurance claim or lawsuit.
The Police Report Can Also Help You Establish Liability
Car accident victims must prove the other party’s negligence to recover compensation. There could be several parties who share liability, depending on the specific details of your case. Some of the parties that are more frequently found culpable in Atlanta car accident cases include:
- Reckless or negligent drivers
- Auto parts designers
- Vehicle parts manufacturers
- Vehicle distributors
- Safety inspectors
- Government agencies
- Other road users
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Obtain Evidence at the Car Accident Scene
Once you have called the police, do everything you can to obtain evidence and document the scene.
Take Photos and Videos
Start by taking photos of:
- Your injuries and anyone else’s injuries who may have been involved in the accident
- Vehicle damage
- The road conditions
- The scene of the accident at different angles
You can also take a video of the accident scene, which could help determine the specific positioning of the vehicles and other relevant factors that accident reconstructionists can use to support your case.
Exchange Contact Information with the Other Driver and Witnesses
If you can, get the other driver’s contact information, including:
- Their name and phone number
- Their insurance information
- The make and model of their car
- Their license plate number
Gather the contact information of any witnesses, too. Write down any information they may be able to provide you about what they saw and how the accident occurred.
If there are nearby businesses and homes that might have caught the accident on camera, these parties may be able to provide this video footage to your car accident lawyer in Atlanta.
Get a Medical Evaluation As Soon As Possible
More often than not, car accident victims will believe their injuries are not severe enough to warrant going to the hospital or obtaining a medical evaluation. Unfortunately, there are many risks that go with failing to obtain a medical evaluation after a car accident.
A Doctor Can Detect Underlying Injuries
You might have suffered injuries that are not readily seen. Even if you feel “fine,” it is important that you get in to see a healthcare provider to rule out certain types of invisible injuries, such as internal bleeding, organ failure, concussions, whiplash, and other serious injuries.
If left untreated, these injuries could become far worse and have a debilitating impact on your life, potentially even more so than if you had received medical care immediately after the accident.
Medical Documentation Will Help Connect the Accident to Your Injuries
If you don’t see a healthcare provider immediately after your car accident, it leaves an opportunity for the liable party to argue that your injuries were not related to the car accident.
By introducing the idea that your injuries may have been caused in another way, the liable party may be able to avoid being found responsible for your car accident damages.
You can protect your health and your injury settlement by obtaining a medical evaluation soon after your car accident has occurred.
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Consider Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer in Atlanta for Help with Your Case
Once you are able, one of the first calls you should make should be to an Atlanta law firm that handles car accident cases. The sooner your car accident lawyer gets started on your case, the better.
Getting Started Quickly Helps Ensure You Meet the Statute of Limitations
Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations, or mandatory deadline, for filing personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits, according to O.C.G.A § 9-3-33.
Although two years seems like more than enough time to build a strong car accident lawsuit, you might be surprised at the amount of time, effort, and energy that goes into obtaining the evidence needed to support your case.
If the statute expires and you still haven’t filed your case, the court may refuse to hear your case, which would make you responsible for covering your losses. However, given enough notice, a lawyer can help you meet the deadline.
A Lawyer Will Take Care of Each Aspect of Your Atlanta Car Accident Case
Enlisting legal relief won’t just help ensure you meet state deadlines. A lawyer will also take care of each part of your car accident case while you focus on getting better.
They will be responsible for:
- Obtaining the accident report
- Representing you during settlement negotiations
- Collecting evidence to build an effective case
- Establishing the negligent party or parties
- Reviewing insurance policies and your medical records
- Handling the back and forth among other parties
- Arguing your case before a jury if they cannot agree on a favorable settlement
Most injury firms that handle car accident cases will serve you on a contingency-fee basis, so they won’t ask for any retainers, out-of-pocket or upfront fees, or hourly rates. Their payment comes from the settlement or court award they obtain for you.
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Document Your Experience of the Car Accident
While you are recuperating in your hospital bed or at home, you can use this time to document your experience. Take the time to write down how the accident occurred. The sooner you document even the most minor detail, the better. These details could be lost with time if they are not carefully documented.
Keep Track of Your Damages
Now is also a good time to start keeping track of your damages. Damages consist of all the ways your life has been affected by your injuries. They’re usually separated into two categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damages
Economic damages refer to your financial losses, while non-economic damages encompass the ways your quality of life has been affected by your injuries.
If you have already started to receive medical bills or vehicle repair invoices, been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or experienced other adverse effects from your car accident in Atlanta, hold onto documentation of these losses wherever possible. This way, you can easily prove that your car accident claim is worth what you are seeking in your insurance and civil claims.
File a Claim with the Insurance Company
Once you have a general idea about the extent of your damages, you can go through them in further detail with your car accident lawyer to ensure that no loss goes on accounted for. Then, you can move forward with filing your insurance claims.
Your lawyer will handle the claims process on your behalf here. You can count on them to protect the value of your case, as it is quite common for insurance companies to avoid or deny paying out fairly on injury victims’ claims.
If your lawyer is unable to secure fair and reasonable compensation through your insurance claim, bringing your case to trial may be the best way to recover restitution for your suffering.
Work with an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today
This comprehensive Atlanta car accident checklist should help you navigate the complex times following a collision. When you are ready to take legal action against those responsible for causing your injuries, you may want to consider enlisting the help of an Atlanta car accident lawyer at Kaine Law. They will represent you on a contingency-fee basis.
Our firm is proud to offer no-cost, risk-free consultations to car accident victims across Atlanta and nearby cities. Claim yours by calling our office at (404) 214-2001 today.