Getting involved in a traffic accident is an unnerving experience, and a serious accident can be especially frightening. However, this is one of those situations in life when it’s important to keep calm and act rationally in spite of how high your emotions may be running. In addition, knowing what to do immediately after the accident will help you protect yourself in the aftermath. This guide will help you to be prepared for any accident.
Assess the Scene
The very first thing you should do after a traffic accident is to assess the scene. This starts with determining the extent of your own injuries. If you’re able to move about, you can also check on the condition of everyone else involved in the accident. You should also look for the nearest major intersection. When you call the 911 dispatcher, being able to communicate your location and the extent of injuries will help you get the appropriate emergency response to you.
Collect Contact Information
After calling for help, you’ll have some time to gather information from the other drivers. In talking to them, avoid discussing the accident, and do not admit any fault in talking with anyone. Once you admit to fault, even to a small degree, your ability to claim damages may be minimized. Instead, stick to the information you need, such as the other driver’s name, contact information, and insurance carrier. In return, you should provide the same information to the other driver. You should also collect the names and contact information of passengers in any vehicles involved in the accident. You may need to talk with witnesses to the accident, so you should be sure to collect their information as well.
While waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, you can also use the time wisely by gathering evidence that verifies your claim. This will mostly involve using your phone to take pictures of the damages to both vehicles. You should take picture of any other property damages that occurred, such as dented guard rails, and skid marks left in the road. This information can be used in a lawsuit if legal action becomes necessary in pursuing your claim. Some people take a video of the scene, but that may not be as helpful as still images. When reviewing a video, you or the insurance company will have to search through footage to find the desired images. Still, photos are more easily referenced.
Make a Statement
When the police arrive, they will conduct an investigation of the accident, which will be used to determine fault. In some cases, the police may only take a statement from one driver, but you will want to make sure your statement is included in the official accident report Georgia. Without your statement, the other driver’s version of events will be the only information contained in the report. Once you have made an official statement, let the officer know that you would like a copy of the completed report for your records. You can use your copy to file a more accurate insurance claim, and an attorney can use the report to help them assess the strength and value of your claim.
Undergo a Medical Evaluation
Once you can leave the scene of the accident, your next step should be to undergo a medical evaluation. Even if you feel well, you should still get evaluated by a doctor as soon as possible. Delaying a medical exam can harm your injury claim by making it seem as though your claim isn’t authentic. Additionally, a judge may attribute some of the negligence to you for your injuries when you put off treatment. Another reason to get a medical checkup as early as possible is to begin treatment for serious injuries that may not produce noticeable symptoms. Brain trauma, spine damage, and internal bleeding are some of the injuries you can sustain without experiencing symptoms. It’s better to get an early diagnosis and treatment to increase your chances for a more complete recovery.
While each one of these steps is important to follow, you should also talk to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Having an attorney on your side can help you obtain a fairer settlement from the insurance company. If the insurance company won’t negotiate, your lawyer will be prepared to take your case to trial in civil court. People who hire injury attorneys typically obtain more favorable outcomes than those who try to settle an accident claim without legal help.