Your life can drastically change in a split second. One minute you are driving somewhere and the next you find yourself in an accident. Whether you are at fault or not, there are some things you need to know for when you have an auto accident.
Don’t leave but move the vehicles to a safe place.
Absolutely never leave the scene of the accident. It is illegal and will cause more trouble than you would be in if the accident is determined to be your fault. If you and the other driver are able, move your vehicles to the side of the road so that you are not in the way of traffic. You don’t want to cause a further accident by blocking the road. Make sure you stand away from the road to prevent any injury. If you are not able to move the vehicles from the road, stand on the shoulder or stay in your car to avoid further injury.
Check on all people involved for injuries and call 911.
Make sure that all passengers and the other driver are ok. Once you have determined everyone is ok or needing medical attention, call 911. The police will be needed to make a report of the accident, an ambulance may be called to the scene if someone is injured, and a firetruck may be needed if any gas or other fluids are on the road.
Get pictures and talk to witnesses.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, take pictures of the damages of both cars. This will help your insurance adjuster later. You need to document as much as possible about the incident. Talk to bystanders to see if anyone witnessed the accident. Make sure you point out any witnesses to the police. They will be able to get a statement about what happened, and you may need their testimony if there are any legal issues.
This is typically collected by the police officer responding to the scene, but it’s good practice to exchange information as soon as possible. You may find yourself in a situation where the police can’t respond, like being in a privately-owned parking lot. Also, this information will come in handy once you are able to contact your insurance company.
Give the officer as much detail as possible.
When you talking to the officer on the scene, make sure you give as much information about the accident as you can. Give details on what you were doing and what you observed the other vehicle doing. This is a great time to point out witnesses as their statements can shed more light on exactly what happened. Not only will this give the police a better understanding of what happened, yours and theirs accounts may be used to determine who is a fault for the accident.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can and give them information about the accident. They will need the police report as well as any photos you took to build an estimate on the damages as well as deciding who is at fault. Georgia is an at-fault state which means that the person determined to be at fault is responsible, along with their insurance company, to pay for damages. However, Georgia is also known to be a proportional comparative fault state. This means that it is assumed that both parties are partially responsible for the accident, it just needs to be determined how much of that responsibility each party has. If one party is found to be over 50% responsible, they are not able to seek any compensation for any damages, injury bills, or loss of income due to the accident.
You may want to consider getting an attorney.
You may not like it, but you should consider getting an attorney in case legal issues arise due to the accident and you need to go to court. Make sure you keep track of all medical expenses and any repair costs. Watch who and how much you discuss the accident. Careless comments could cost you in court. Be leery if the other party tries to give you a settlement offer. Do not accept any offer without discussing it with your attorney. Your attorney has your best interests at heart, and they want to make sure you get fair compensation.
Having an accident is not fun and causes a lot of headache. Your loss in time and transportation makes your life difficult. However, there are steps to follow to make sure your inconvenience is as low and fast as possible. Take time to learn these steps and your next accident (hopefully not any time soon) will go much smoother.