No driver wants to get involved in a car accident and hiring a Macon automobile accident attorney may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you drive in Macon or elsewhere in Georgia, it’s possible that you’ll find yourself in a crash.
Car accidents are dangerous and scary. Even if you’re not injured, you may feel quite shaken and overwhelmed. So much so that you may be unsure about what to do. Here are some of the steps you need to take in the unfortunate event that you become involved in a car accident.
Remain at the Scene
Never leave the scene of a car accident without taking all the necessary steps. This is especially important if someone sustained an injury or lost their life. If you leave under these circumstances, you could face criminal charges. Always stay and follow the other steps outlined below.
Check to See if You or Your Passengers Suffered Injuries
Take the time to look for any cuts or bruises on your body and take note of if you feel any pain. Also, check on the people in your vehicle. If anyone has been injured, call 911 right away. If your injuries are serious, try not to move and wait for emergency personnel to arrive.
You should also avoid moving other seriously injured people unless there’s an immediate danger such as fire.
Get to Safety if Possible
If no one is seriously injured, move to a sidewalk if possible. If the vehicle can be driven, move it to the side of the road as well. If you stay in a disabled vehicle, you may get struck by another motorist.
Under Georgia’s laws, drivers and passengers with a valid driver’s license have a duty to move the vehicle involved in a car accident to move that vehicle to safety if it can be driven. In the event that you can’t move the car and you have an emergency road kit, place road flares to warn other drivers to drive slowly in the area.
Contact the Macon Police
State law also requires individuals involved in a car accident to report the car accident to the police immediately if someone died or suffered injuries. You are also required to call the police in the event of property damage that could reasonably be valued at more than $500.
When the police arrive, give them an honest and concise statement. You’ll need to be careful with the words you choose and avoid admitting fault even if you think you’re responsible for the crash. If you say you’re to blame for the accident, the other driver and their insurance company will likely use it against you.
Exchange Details With Other Drivers
It’s important that you get all the relevant information from the other driver(s) involved in the crash. Some of the things you need to record are:
- Contact details
- Model, make, and color of the vehicle
- The name of their insurance company
- Their insurance policy number
Beyond exchanging these details, you should avoid talking to the other people involved in the crash. Resist the urge to apologize for your actions since this could be interpreted as you accepting liability for what happened.
Document the Accident Scene
If you’re able to do so, you’ll need to gather some evidence of what occurred. This will help to support your claim for compensation if you decide to file one. Try to capture as much of the scene as possible by:
- Taking photos of all the vehicles involved from as many angles as possible, making sure to show the damage each vehicle received.
- Taking photos of the road conditions, road signs or any hazards that you believe are important
- Getting the names and contact details of any eyewitnesses
- Getting the names and badge numbers of the responding officers and finding out where you can get a copy of the accident report.
All this information will be of interest to both your Macon automobile accident attorney and the insurance companies.
Go the Doctor
Accident victims often delay going to the doctor if they think their injuries are minor. This isn’t advised. Even if you think you escaped from the crash unscathed, you should get a check-up. The doctor will know exactly what to look for and they may be able to detect something that you didn’t notice in the heat of the moment.
Also, some injuries such as whiplash, take days before they become symptomatic. If you go to the doctor and report that you were involved in an accident, you’ll be in a better position to prove that your delayed symptoms resulted from the crash. If you don’t go to the doctor, you won’t be able to prove how you sustained your injuries.
If you are prescribed medication, sent for further tests, or advised to undergo treatment, you should follow the doctor’s orders and keep a good record of everything.
Notify Your Insurance Company About the Crash
It’s important that you report your accident to your insurance company at the earliest possible opportunity. You need to tell the truth about what happened and be transparent about the extent of your injuries. If you lie or leave out information, your claim may be denied.
Avoid Talking to the Other Driver’s Insurance Company
The other driver’s insurance company is likely to contact you shortly after the crash. The agent may seem friendly and genuinely interested in your wellbeing. However, their job is to act in the best interests of their employer.
They may ask you lots of questions designed to take the blame off their client or offer you a very low settlement in the hope that you won’t ask for more. If you want to be treated fairly, you should contact a lawyer and have them talk to the insurance company on your behalf.
Get in Touch with a Macon Personal Injury Lawyer Today!
The Macon personal injury attorneys at Calvin Smith Law are here to advise you. If you were not primarily at fault for your crash, you may be entitled to compensation for property damage, medical expenses, lost wages, and more. However, you shouldn’t attempt to handle the matter on your own.
Schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys today!