Over the years, we have developed four tips to help you and your loved ones after a car accident in Georgia. We know that there is a lot going through your mind right after an accident in Georgia. It’s scary! The police are arriving at the scene. The paramedics are coming too. Then, shortly after the accident, there are the seemingly endless calls from the insurance companies asking you for statements and oftentimes making you feel like you did something to cause the automobile accident, but when in reality you did absolutely nothing wrong. The truth: You need to take steps to protect yourself after an accident. These five steps will help guide you along the way after a car accident:
STEP ONE: CALL FOR EMERGENCY HELP AND GET AN ACCIDENT REPORT
Please call 911! We all know that the health and safety of everyone involved in the accident is, far and away, the most important thing after an automobile accident. It’s easy sometimes to feel guilty for calling for emergency help, especially if the at-fault driver in the accident, tells you that they accept responsibility and will pay for the damages to your vehicle. Far too often though, we have seen the situation play out where you leave the scene without calling the police and paramedics. The person that caused the accident then decides to change his or her story and then claim, “It wasn’t my fault.” Without the accident report, the case already becomes much more difficult, i.e. your word against the other person’s story. The insurance companies will then use it to your disadvantage and may then try to reduce the offer in your case or perhaps even not make any offer to compensate you at all after the accident. We promise that by calling for emergency help you are doing the right thing after the car crash.
STEP TWO: TAKE PICTURES OF THE AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT
These days, a cell phone is a useful tool for taking photos of the damage to all the vehicles and the car accident scene. Many times the insurance company and an adjuster will try to downplay the severity of the car accident, but the pictures are worth a million words. They will show the damage and impact from the collision. Most of us know to take pictures of the vehicles themselves, but there are other very important pictures. Look for skid-marks! Skid marks are crucial, especially in tractor-trailer cases, because they can be used to determine the precise speed of the vehicle or truck that collided with you. If there are no skid-marks, then the other driver may have been really distracted right before the accident. We have encountered situations where the other driver was texting, eating, or even sleeping just before hitting a car. Another thought: Make sure you snap a picture of the license plate of any people that arrived on the scene because it’s a good way to track them down after the accident, especially if you forget their names or write down the wrong phone number in the moment. Stories change, but the facts don’t.
STEP THREE: UNDERSTAND INSURANCE INFORMATION
While you probably know that Georgia law requires all drivers to maintain automobile accident liability insurance, there is a very scary truth to it: Other drivers only have to carry the minimum limits of $25,000. This amount of insurance for a car accident may seem like a lot of money at first glance, but in reality, it’s pretty small. Think about this — A hospital stay alone or just one surgery can exceed this amount. So please make sure not only get the other driver’s insurance card and write down the name of the insurance company and policy number, but also definitely contact your insurance company because you need to know about your insurance. You should make sure you have UM insurance, which stands for “uninsured motorist” or “underinsured motorist,” to protect you and your family in this type of situation. A quick side note: Make sure your UM coverage is “add-on.” We will talk more about it in another post soon! Anyway, you (or your lawyer) do need to let your insurance company know about the accident right away; otherwise, your insurance company may not honor your insurance policy with them after an accident. Whatever you do, don’t give a recorded statement to the other insurance company. It’s a trap! Georgia law does not require one despite what the insurance company may try to tell you.
Of course, you should also get professional help! Feel free to give us a call if you ever have any questions about your automobile accident in Georgia. We have handled these types of cases throughout the state whether in Atlanta, Athens, Columbus, Macon, Rome, and Savannah. You can always reach us at (404) 566-5880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.