Approximately 400,000 car wrecks occur in Georgia each year, according to state government statistics. Any collision can be a disorienting, life-changing event -both physically and emotionally. Depending upon the severity of the crash, you could be facing a serious or even catastrophic injury, out-of-pocket medical expenses, missed work, months of rehab, and a totaled vehicle. So what steps should an accident victim take immediately after a crash? Review our top 10 list below.
The process for obtaining full compensation for your injuries often starts with what you do within minutes of the crash. Depending on your physical limitations at the scene, here are 10 suggested actions to protect yourself and protect your right to compensation:
Having a police report from the scene of the collision is very important when it comes to filing a lawsuit. It proves who was involved in the crash, how the crash occurred, and most times who was at fault for the crash. The police officer will also document the extent of property damage and whether anyone is complaining of injuries.
Do not move it (as long as it is safe to leave it at the exact location of the accident) until police officers arrive. Leaving the vehicles at the point of impact is invaluable for police accident reconstruction and determining who was at fault for the crash.
Make sure to tell first responders if you are experiencing any pain or other symptoms and follow their directions as they render urgent care. If you are hurt, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Waiting to see if the pain goes away on its own can be harmful to a bodily injury claim later on. If you have any doubts about whether you are injured or the extent of your injuries, let EMS transport you to a local hospital for evaluation. Sometimes shock can mask pain or injuries at the scene. The longer you wait to get medical attention, the harder it will be to prove later on that your injuries were caused by the collision.
If possible, use the voice memo app on your smartphone to record key details so that you do not that you might overlook in the commotion. Do not speculate or make statements to anyone other than police officers, as what is said may be interpreted as an admission of legal liability for the accident.
Use your phone to take pictures of driver’s license(s), registration, insurance cards, and license plate numbers.
You should document the positions of the vehicles and take photographs from different angles. This should be done as you continue to gather information regarding vehicle damage and the accident scene itself. However, please ensure that it is safe for you to take such photos without jeopardizing or interfering with the officers’ investigation.
Be sure to ask the officer for your case number.
Most insurance policies require prompt notification. Filing a claim triggers the initial coverage to which you are entitled while the claim is pending.
To access maximum compensation for physical harm, lost income, pain and suffering, out-of-pocket expenses, property damage, and all other appropriate money damages, you should speak with a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate and take advantage of the entire scope of insurance coverage benefits that may be available to you.
Chronicle all your thoughts, including your challenges, while they are fresh in your mind. This history can prove to be helpful when it is used as part of the supporting documentation for your claim.
Most traffic accidents in Georgia involve motorists operating passenger vehicles. Again, if you are a victim of a car crash, the first priority is to get back on your feet after a period recuperation and medical attention. As your life begins to return to normal following the aftermath, here are additional, helpful tips to add to the list.
Seek medical treatment if symptoms do not clear up: If whiplash or another form of soft-tissue injury sets in a few hours or several days later after the shock or adrenaline wears off, see a doctor immediately once those symptoms present themselves. Remember that it is vital to develop a timeline establishing that a treatment protocol is directly attributable to the collision. Even on a delayed reaction and/or diagnosis basis, car accident victims are at risk for spinal cord injuries, concussions, and other disorders.
Organize documentation for efficient retrieval: As they arrive, place all accident-related paperwork such as the police report, medical bills and medical reports, and other ongoing documentation in a centralized file folder. It is especially helpful if you maintain these electronically so that when you are seeking an attorney you can forward them the documentation quickly and easily.
Don’t give a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster without first speaking with an attorney: Sometimes the insurance adjuster will ask that you give a recorded statement. That statement can be used against you later on if you decide to file a lawsuit. The adjuster is looking for a reason to not pay your claim. Consult an attorney before giving any recorded statement.
Don’t rush into a settlement: You cannot be compensated for future injuries or treatment. Make sure you have completed medical treatment before you settle so that you can be fully compensated for that treatment. You have two years in Georgia to file a lawsuit. Resist pressure from any insurance adjuster who wants you to agree to a quick settlement. Be sure to thoroughly discussed your options with a personal injury lawyer. It could take months or even more than a year before all your compensable injuries become apparent .
If you have been injured in a car wreck in Georgia or Florida, contact Schneider Injury Law today to find out what compensation you may be entitled to. To make an appointment with seasoned personal injury lawyer, Bethany Schneider, for a free and confidential consultation, call 404-800-3060. You can also contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bethany’s experience and knowledge in handling cases in the courtroom, as well as negotiating out-of-court settlements, ensures that clients receive the highest quality representation.