After a car accident, stay at the scene and render any aid you can in life-threatening circumstances. Once everyone is safe, call the police immediately. When giving an officer your statement, do not admit fault; stick to the facts.
Exchange insurance information with any involved party and take pictures of the scene and any vehicle damage. If there are any witnesses nearby, ask for their contact information, as well. Finally, consider your legal right to an attorney. Our firm can handle your case from there.
Six Things to Do at the Scene of a Car Accident
A car accident can leave you shaken. Try not to panic; you can do a few basic things to protect everyone’s safety and your right to compensation. Consider the following steps to take at the scene of a car accident:
Stay at the Scene and Do What You Can to Ensure Everyone’s Safety
Your safety, as well as the safety of others, comes first. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270 mandates drivers to stay at the scene of an accident and administer reasonable assistance to injured parties.
If another driver is incapacitated and it is not safe to let them remain in their vehicle, try your best to remove them and get as far away from the vehicle as possible. Otherwise, it is best not to attempt to move an injured person. Call the police and let the emergency responders tend to them.
If you do not have to render immediate aid, consider moving your vehicle to a safe area away from traffic. You may want to stay in your vehicle until the police arrive and give you further assistance. Other drivers on the road may not be paying attention, and they could hit you.
Call the Police
Even if no one needs immediate medical assistance, call the police to the scene of the accident. They will file an official crash report that can support your claim or lawsuit. Insurance adjusters often use these reports to determine who bears fault for the accident. A lawyer from our firm can also use this evidence to support your case.
Note: If you or your child suffered a severe injury and have to go to the hospital, you do not have to wait for the police to arrive. You may leave at once and give your statement later without jeopardizing your right to damages.
Do Not Admit Fault
When the police arrive at the scene, they will take each party’s statement about what happened. Stick to the facts, and do not speculate on who bears fault.
You have a limited perspective of the accident, and you may not be aware of all the factors at play. For example, faulty auto parts may have contributed to the collision, which would make a manufacturer liable. Play it safe and avoid saying anything about fault. Simply describe what you saw, heard, and felt from your point of view.
Later, the insurance adjuster will determine fault. They can use anything you say to undervalue or deny your claim. A lawyer from our firm may also conduct an independent investigation and counter their findings.
Exchange Insurance Information
The police will also assist each party when exchanging insurance information. You may do so before the police arrive, but avoid discussing fault with the other parties. Remember, the other side may use anything you say against you.
You can write down the other party’s name, address, and insurance provider. You can also snap a picture of their insurance card and driver’s license on your phone.
Document Any Available Evidence
The more evidence you have, the stronger your compensation case will be. Take photos of the accident scene, including wide-range shots that show the position of each car on the road. Then take close-ups of the damage on each vehicle. You can also take pictures of any visible injuries you suffered.
If there are any witnesses nearby, ask for their names and contact information. We may be able to use their testimony to support your case.
Consider Your Legal Rights
Finally, remember that you have the right to legal representation when filing a claim or lawsuit for a car accident. You can reach out to our firm immediately after the accident.
Once again, your safety and well-being come first. Call for help if you or anyone else requires emergency medical care.
When everyone is safe, consider your legal rights and get to work on your case as soon as possible.
For a free legal consultation, call 404-214-2001
What You Should Do After Leaving the Accident Scene
After you have left the accident scene, you should consider your legal options. It’s important to consider legal action because the state gives you a short time to seek damages. How long you have to file a car accident lawsuit depends on your situation, including who (or what) caused your accident.
Consider the following:
- O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 gives you just six months to file a lawsuit against a city (if, for example, a bad roadway environment contributed to the collision).
- In cases involving negligent individuals, you generally have two years to file your lawsuit, per O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Your filing deadline begins from the date of your traffic collision.
- You also have two years to file a lawsuit if your loved one lost their life due to their injuries, as stated in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33. Your filing deadline begins from the date of your loved one’s passing.
These are not the only statutes you should consider as you navigate the legal system. Every situation is different and comes with its own filing deadline.
The sooner you contact a car accident attorney, the sooner they can start managing your case’s deadlines. Remember, if you don’t file your case within the appropriate deadline, you could lose the right to seek damages at all.
What if I Didn’t Do Something at the Accident Scene that I Should Have?
Accidents are unexpected and traumatic events. When a crisis hits, most people do not react in a “picture-perfect” manner. If you did not follow all of the steps outlined above—maybe you did not get the other driver’s contact information, or maybe you were too distraught to think of taking pictures—this does not mean all is lost.
When you meet with a car accident lawyer, be honest with them about what you did and did not do immediately following the crash. They have handled many cases like yours, so they know how to respond, and, if necessary, compensate for anything you missed.
- Request a copy of the police report to find information you do not know
- Look at surveillance footage and news reports
- Visit the accident scene and look for forensic evidence
- Ask you to repeat what you said to all involved parties (to the best of your recollection)
- Consult with accident reconstruction experts on your collision’s cause
- Interview people who saw the accident happen
- Review the at-fault motorist’s driving record
You do not have to let uncertainty stop you from seeking legal advice and financial compensation following a car crash. It is a good idea to talk to a law firm after an accident, even if you did not do everything you were “supposed” to do.
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How a Car Accident Lawyer from Our Firm Can Help
Filing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit can be overwhelming, especially if you are recovering from serious injuries. A car accident attorney from our firm can help by:
- Gathering evidence of another party’s negligence
- Handling all of the paperwork associated with your claim or lawsuit
- Calculating your damages
- Negotiating a fair settlement
- Combating any bad faith insurance practices
- Evaluating your insurance coverage options
- Representing you in a trial
Our legal team can also keep you up to date on your case’s progress and answer any questions that arise.
We Work on a Contingency-Fee Basis; We Charge Nothing Up Front
We also take car accident cases on a contingency-fee basis. We don’t charge any upfront fees to start your case, and we take our payment from any compensation we win on your behalf.
This way, you do not have to worry about losing more money. You can also trust that we will work hard to recover fair compensation; our payment depends on it.
You have nothing to lose by taking advantage of our free, no-obligation consultation. You may discover you have more legal options than you thought.
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Call Kaine Law After a Car Accident in Georgia
At the scene of a car accident, you should prioritize everyone’s safety and protect your right to compensation. We can handle your case from there. Our team has helped car accident victims for multiple decades, and we want to see how our attorneys can serve you.
Our firm offers free consultations to discuss your options and tell you more about working with our firm. Call us today to start the process. We can answer your questions, address your concerns, and put your anxieties to rest.