If you haven’t been in a car accident, consider yourself lucky. According to Frobes, by car insurance industry estimates, the average driver will file a claim for a collision about once every 17.9 years. So, what to do when this occurs?
- Stay on the scene & check on all passengers/driver
Do not flee. No matter how small the collision, you need to pull over to a safe area (if possible) and remain at the scene. Hit-and-run is a serious offense. If possible, put up flares. Keep your flashers on, put out a flashlight if it’s dark. Before getting out to look at the property damage, make sure everyone ok. If medical attention is required, call 911 immediately. Err on the side of telephoning the ambulence if you are uncertain or if a person is non-responsive. If someone is hurt or immobilized do not move them until qualified medical help arrives.
- Telephone the police
No matter how little the damage to the vehicle, or how minor the injuries, always telephone the police and request that a police report be prepared. This can help in dealing with insurance companies, attorneys, and determining liability.
- Document the scene
This will be the only time to document the scene before the vehicles move, get repaired, or even are replaced as a total loss. Tell the police exactly what happened, and if you do not an aspect to how the accident occurred, make sure to note that too. f you are asked if you unsure whether you are injured, say you are not sure, rather than no. Adrenaline is high, and often pain and injuries become apparent hours or even days after the actual collision. Find out what the other parties are saying to the police and note any inconsistencies or incorrect statement to the officer. It may not change the officer’s opinion, but the report will not this. TAKE PICTURES. Nearly all phones these days have cameras, use it! Take photos of all visible damage to both vehicles. If there’re tire marks, take pictures. Injuries? Photograph them.
- Exchange information
Speak with the other driver(s). NEVER SAY SORRY, not even as a kindness. This can make liability an issue. Get the names, numbers, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, license plate numbers, and basic insurance information from all drivers involved. If there are passengers, also obtain their names, numbers, and addresses. Be nice to these folks, you don’t want to come off as hostile or angry (even if you have every right to be so).
- Inform your own insurance company
It does not matter if the other driver was clearly, 100%, no maybe, at-fault. Contact your insurance company and tell them the truth about what happened and the extent of your injuries. You may have benefits known as med-pay or UM (uninsured/uninsured) coverage that can greatly assist you in this upsetting time.
- If you’re injured, track any and all of your medial attention
Keep a detailed account of the treatments or medications you receive and request all medical reports and bills. This will help you and your attorney prove your medical expenses later. Pain and suffering is compensable in Georgia, and these records are used to prove it up. Record of how your injuries have progressed, affected your daily life activities, missed workdays, and affected your family life.
- Consider consulting an attorney
Property damage, early settlement offers, total loss property offerings, denials, recorded statements, simple conversations with adjusters. These are all pitfalls for the unknowing. Insurance adjusters have one concern, not justice, not being fair, not you…it’s the bottom line. Make no mistake, this is the case in nearly all instances. Attorneys serve as a conduit between you and the insurance company. In terms of obtaining proper compensation, they often pay for themselves by obtaining higher offers. The vast majority work on a contingency fee, meaning you do not have to pay until a judgment or settlement is obtained. An attorney can help you maximize your recovery if you’re injured or better defend yourself if you’re at fault.