Car Wreck? What To Do Right Away
When faced with a stroke of bad luck, such as being involved in a car wreck, there are requirements based on Georgia law, as well as things that individuals should do right away. While every automobile accident presents its own set of unique circumstances, the driver of a car involved in a crash is required to report it immediately if there are apparent injuries, death or when damage to property is estimated to be $500 or more. Individuals are also required to stay at the scene and provide information such as name, address, and registration number of the vehicle. A driver’s license must be presented, and if possible, the vehicles must be arranged so as not to disrupt traffic. Within reason, assistance should be given to any injured individuals, including providing transportation or assisting them in getting to a hospital or physician.
When a car wreck meets the requirements above and is reported, the drivers of each vehicle are responsible for providing the following information, including insurance information, to all persons who have experienced injury or property damage due to the wreck:
- The name and address of the driver of the vehicle
- The driver’s license number
- The name of the insurance carrier, or appropriate documentation if the driver is self-insured
Often asked is the question, “should I move my vehicle after a crash?” According to Georgia law, if there is no obvious serious injuries or death, it is the driver’s responsibility (or an individual with a valid Georgia license) to move vehicles to the shoulder of the road, a safe median, or an emergency lane. However, the vehicle must be capable of being driven or moved safely without damaging itself, the roadway, or becoming a danger to traffic.
On the other hand, if the vehicle is severely damaged or there are serious injuries or death, the vehicle should not be moved right away. Officers arriving onto the scene will likely begin an accident investigation, which requires measurements and diagrams to be taken before any car or vehicle is moved.
Per Georgia law, the above-mentioned actions are required and should be done right away following a car accident. However, this assumes that individuals are able to do so. If you’ve been in a car accident and you are injured, seeking medical attention is the first thing that you should do. When you are medically stable, contact the attorneys at the Harman Law Firm for peace of mind concerning your case. Let us be your advocate for justice and the right compensation.
Steps To Take Following a Car Accident
Alarming statistics relating to Georgia automobile accidents necessitate knowing what to do, or not to do, in the moments following a car accident. Before getting behind the wheel, make sure you are familiar with the following steps:
- Report the accident by calling for help
- Do not leave the scene
- Gather insurance information
- Move the vehicle to the shoulder of the road, a safe median or emergency lane (only if no serious injuries or death have resulted and if the vehicle can be moved safely).
The steps listed above are requirements for all individuals involved in a car accident in Georgia. Yet, there is more that can be done to quicken your claim and preserve yourself if a claim is filed against you.
While at the scene, exercise caution when speaking with other drivers. While certain matters must be discussed, do not admit fault. The same is true when speaking to your insurance adjuster. Instead, focus your attention on gathering pertinent information from the scene. A cell phone camera is especially useful for taking pictures of vehicle or property damage, as well as injuries.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may feel overwhelmed and pay little attention to any pain or discomfort. Yet, it’s critical to see a doctor immediately, if necessary. When it comes to establishing your accident claim, time is of the essence in regards to receiving medical attention. If you speak to your insurance adjuster, be sure to note their name, including the time, date and details from your conversation.
If your accident is under investigation, you will most likely be given the accident report number at the scene. Make sure to follow up on the report by picking up the final copy. Typically, a final accident report is available within a few days of an accident. The same officer may give a ticket or citation to one or both drivers. While this doesn’t always happen, it’s important to know when you are expected in court, if you need to attend. It’s also important not to concern yourself with guilt, at least initially. In the same way, refrain from posting or sharing details on social media. This information is easily obtained and can be used against you. Any and all documentation including information gathered from other drivers, witnesses, officers or medical professionals should be kept.
There’s no doubt—immediately following an accident is a confusing and stressful time. In essence, the outcome of a car accident can change your life. Filled with complexities concerning insurance contracts, liability laws, subrogation and reimbursement rights related to healthcare policies, rights of hospitals and doctors and negotiations with insurance adjusters, an experienced attorney can make all the difference in your case.
When your life has been turned upside down by a car accident, it’s possible that you can settle your own case. Yet, with a free, no risk initial consultation, why not contact the Harman Law Firm to get professional advice on whether you need an attorney? The seasoned attorneys at the Harman Law Firm work tirelessly to level the playing field when it comes to your case. Therefore, if you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, contact us today.