1. Stop your vehicle. Do not drive away! Under Georgia law, it is illegal for a driver to fail to stop if he or she is involved in an accident that results in damage to a vehicle or death or injury of an individual. If your damaged vehicle is impeding traffic, take proper precautions. Turn on the car’s hazard lights and, if they are available, set out cones, flares or warning triangles.
2. Check for injuries. Check yourself and all passengers for injuries.
3. Call the police or 911. Be sure to tell phone operators if the accident appears serious, so that emergency responders can react accordingly.
4. Exchange information. When traffic conditions are safe to do so, drivers and/or owners of each damaged vehicle should exchange the following information: names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance company names, insurance policy numbers, driver’s license numbers and license plate numbers.
5. Do not admit fault! Do not admit that you caused the accident―not to the other party, your passengers, the police, witnesses or your auto insurance agent. This information could be used against you later.
6. Photograph the accident. Use a camera to document the damage done to each vehicle. Also document other important factors such as road conditions, street hazards, traffic lights, etc.
7. Move your vehicle. Drivers involved in minor traffic accidents should move their vehicles to the side of the road in order to reduce traffic build-up.
8. File an accident report. It is important to have official documentation of your accident completed by a law enforcement officer, because it is used by insurance companies and will speed up the claims process. Also, having important information about the accident in writing helps to ensure that future descriptions of the incident are accurate should your car accident escalate into a court case.
9. Seek medical attention. See a doctor immediately. Although you may feel fine at first, or think your injuries aren’t serious, symptoms such as pain, discomfort, dizziness, or numbness may appear days after the accident. If you wait too long to seek medical attention, it will be harder to prove that your injuries are the result of the accident.
10. Photograph your injuries. Ask someone to take pictures of your injuries. If you have trouble getting a settlement from the insurance company or if you decide to hire an attorney, photos will be valuable evidence in your case. Cuts, bruises and scrapes heal quickly, so take photos as soon as possible.
11. Call your insurance company. If the damage to your vehicle is insignificant and you have a high deductible, you may chose to pay the expenses directly without involving your insurer. But, in most cases, it is wise to contact your insurance company immediately after an accident, to make sure you give your insurer the proper amount of time to process your claim.
12. Contact a qualified attorney. Having representation is the best way to make sure your rights are protected, especially if your accident was very serious and/or if you were at fault.
If you were involved in a car accident in Atlanta, Georgia and want to discuss your accident with a qualified Atlanta, Georgia car accident attorney, call the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. at (404) 814-8949 or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form to schedule a free initial consultation.
Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.)
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