The moments right after a car accident can be scary and confusing. You may not know who is supposed to be doing what or what you should be doing to protect and help yourself after a car accident. The steps below tell you what to do after a car accident, whether you are in Gwinnett County or elsewhere.
5 Steps to Take After a Car Accident
Do the following things immediately after an auto accident:
1) Call 911
Call 911 to get the police and EMTs to the scene. This will get medical attention at the scene for anyone who was injured. You should file a police report even if the accident is not serious. The police report will:
- Protect you if the other driver later denies an accident even happened.
- Preserve the evidence through the responding officer’s investigation.
- Ensure you get the other driver’s car insurance information (driver’s name, insurance company, and policy number). Police reports normally take 3-5 days to be released so get this information separately to open a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company immediately.
- Protect the value of your injury claim. Most insurance companies will not value an injury claim appropriately unless there is a police report.
2) Photograph the Damage to Both Cars
Damage to the cars is always the best evidence of force of impact. Be sure to take photos of both cars at the scene. You may think you can just take pictures of your car later, but you will have enough to do after you leave the scene; try to get this done before.
3) Get to the Doctor
Go to the ER or get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
- Will take X-rays and make sure your injuries are not serious.
- Can prescribe you prescription pain medication and anti-inflammatories
If you do not go to the ER, get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. The insurance companies look at the initial time between the crash and your first medical exam as a key indicator of how hurt you were. The longer the gap in time, the less your claim is worth in their eyes.
Make sure you do not minimize your injuries or symptoms. Tell the doctor everything that hurts or does not feel right. Also, tell the doctor if any part of your body hit any part of the interior of your car, such as your knees (dashboard), elbows (door), shoulder (door), chest (steering wheel, airbag), or head (side window). This is critical for medical evidence to use during your injury settlement.
4) Open a Claim with Both Insurance Companies
Call and report the crash to both your insurance company and that of the at-fault driver as soon as possible. If you wait too long to report the crash, your insurance company may not help you. Tell them you were hurt and are waiting to be checked out by the doctor. Be vague about your injuries. Never say you were not hurt, especially if you are calling in the first 24 hours. Pain can sometimes take 24 to 48 hours to appear because of the adrenaline wearing off and/or inflammation setting in.
Never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You may have to give a statement to your insurance company because you have a duty to cooperate with their investigation, but wait a couple of days to see how you feel first.
5) Talk to an Experienced Car Accident Injury Lawyer
It is in your best interest to schedule a free consultation with an injury lawyer if considering handling your own claim or taking up the insurance company’s offer for a quick settlement. Discuss your case and what you might be due. You do not have to hire a lawyer at this point, but you might find that doing so will benefit your case.
Hiring an experienced car accident attorney can help you:
- Obtain the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to under Georgia law.
- Coordinate a rental car and get your car repaired. Note: We handle this for our clients for FREE unlike most lawyers in Gwinnett County.
- Get quality medical care even if you do not have health insurance. We know how to evaluate all the insurance policies involved in your claim as well as coordinate medical care without health insurance.
- Avoid having your words/statements used against you later. Controlling the information is a key to shaping your injury claim.
- Focus on healing from your injuries instead of stressing over talking to insurance companies.
Injured in a Car Accident? David Brauns Can Help
Time is of the essence if you have been hurt in a car accident. The sooner you contact our injury law firm, the sooner we can investigate your claim and position it for maximum value and success.
Contact Brauns Law, PC at 404-418-8244 for a free, no obligation consultation. Remember: we do not get paid unless you get paid.