Car accidents are an unfortunate fact of life, especially in overcrowded Georgia highways. After a wreck near Atlanta, there are several things you can do to preserve your rights. One of the most important is calling a knowledgeable car accident attorney, who may be able to help you pursue compensation from any negligent driver responsible for your injuries. Terrence R. Bethune has significant experience in assisting individuals harmed by the careless behavior of others. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, however, there are important steps to follow that may help you assert your rights in the future.
PROTECT THE SAFETY OF ALL INVOLVED
As soon as the car accident happens, stop to check for injuries and property damage. The priority after an accident is to ensure that no one is hurt, and leaving the scene of an accident is a crime, according to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270. After checking with everyone in your car, ensure that no person in any other vehicle is injured. If someone is hurt, call the police immediately. It is also your legal duty to contact law enforcement if the accident has resulted in significant property damage, which is defined as more than $500. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273 makes failing to call the police in that situation a crime.
If no person is seriously hurt, arrange with the other driver to move to an open median, side street, or parking lot. If the accident occurred on the highway, pull off it if possible. This is required by O.C.G.A. § 40-6-275.
GATHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE OTHER DRIVER AND THE ACCIDENT
After you are safely off the road, start gathering information about the wreck. First, you need certain information from any other driver involved, including:
- Names, addresses, and contact information;
- The license plate numbers of all other vehicles involved; and
- The names and policy numbers of the other drivers’ car insurance providers.
If a police officer comes to the scene, get his or her contact information and the police report number so that you can easily find information that it contains in the future. If you have a phone with a camera, take pictures of any damage to your car and any other vehicle. This could prove to be valuable evidence in the event of a lawsuit or insurance claim.
REFRAIN FROM ADMITTING FAULT
Never admit fault to the other driver. This could be used as evidence against you in a future lawsuit or insurance dispute. In fact, you should also avoid apologizing to the other driver, even though it may be your instinct. It may seem like a courteous way to handle the situation, but an apology can be considered an admission of liability.
After you have gathered the necessary information, or if a police officer permits, you may leave if your car remains operational. If not, you may need to call and wait for a tow truck.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ATLANTA ATTORNEY AFTER AN AUTO ACCIDENT
Once you get home after the wreck, you should consider discussing your situation with an attorney. If another driver’s negligence caused the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the damage to your car, medical expenses, and any pain and suffering that you endured. In some cases, it may be helpful to seek legal advice before calling your insurance company. Skilled auto accident lawyer Terrence R. Bethune can help you protect your rights and pursue the compensation that you deserve from a negligent driver in the Atlanta area. To schedule a free consultation, call (800)-465-8733.