9 Steps To Take After a Car Accident in Georgia

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What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Georgia?

What you do immediately after an accident can affect not only your health but your legal case. The most important thing is to make sure that you and the other people involved in the collision are okay. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher about any injuries. Make sure that you and the others involved get any needed medical attention. After that, we can help with the car accident case.

Checklist For After a Car Accident

We recommend that you do the following in the seconds, minutes, and hours following the car accident:
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1
CALL 911
Get help by dialing 911. If you’re hurt, ask for medical attention. A police officer will come to the scene and make a police report. You’ll need that report later
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DON'T ARGUE

Arguing with the other driver is not helpful.

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WITNESSES

Write down witnesses’ names and contact information. Witnesses may not stick around until the police officer gets there, and even if they do, a busy officer may not talk to every witness. If you don’t write down the names and contact information, the witness may be lost forever.

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TAKE PICTURES

If possible, take photographs of your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and the accident scene. Photographs help document dangerous driving conditions, roadway obstacles, the condition and damage to the vehicles, and other factors that may have contributed to the crash.

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INSURANCE

If you can, get a picture of the other driver’s insurance card. The police officer will write down the name of the other driver’s insurance company but not the insurance limits. That information may be printed on the card. Get pictures of the front and back. Do not talk to any insurance company until you’ve spoken with a good lawyer.

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BE RESPECTFUL
Be nice to the police officer. Turn off your stereo, put down your phone, say “sir” or “ma’am”, be patient. If it takes the office a long time to arrive, it’s not the officer’s fault. If you think the other driver was drinking or distracted, say so, and ask the other driver to be tested.
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GET YOUR STUFF

Remove valuable possessions from your vehicle if your car is towed or you are transported by ambulance, it may be a long time before you can see your car again.

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DON'T POST

Don’t post anything about the collision on social media. Posting about the collision online can’t help your case, but might hurt it.

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GET A LAWYER

Call a good law firm that specializes in personal injury cases. Don’t call a big advertising firm that you’ve seen on billboards, buses, or TV commercials. To get good service and the best settlement, call a smaller firm that cares about it’s clients. It’s usually best to do this quickly.

If you have questions, feel free to contact us. We don’t charge anything for the call.

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Should I Go to the Hospital After a Car Accident?

When you’re in any kind of accident, particularly an automobile accident, your body tries to protect you from trauma and pain caused by the accident by releasing a surge of adrenaline. This adrenaline can mask injuries for a time. That is why it is important to seek medical care as soon as possible if you might be hurt. The best advice we can offer is to listen to your body. Sometimes, a trip to the emergency room is necessary. If you’re in pain after an accident, it’s best to get looked at as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have medical insurance, you can’t be turned away from an emergency room if you are injured. Other options include seeing your primary care physician or visiting an urgent care clinic.

Medical Care After An Accident

You might be asking yourself, ‘how do I pay for my medical treatment after an accident?  If you are covered under a private individual or group health insurance plan (through you, your spouse’s, or your parent’s work), or government forms of health insurance such as Medicare, Tricare, or Medicaid, these health plans will pay for the treatment you’re receiving. After the case settles, it’s possible that some of these insurers have a right to reimbursement of some of your medical expenses.  However, there are benefits to using your health insurance coverage to pay your medical expenses before your case settles or goes to verdict.  First, you don’t have to come out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed.  Second, at the end of the case, an experienced attorney can negotiate down medical expenses—leaving you with a larger portion of your settlement.  Finally, Georgia does not allow a jury to hear that your medical treatment has already been paid for—so there is no concern that using your health insurance will affect your case negatively.  Georgia courts refer to that rule as the “collateral source rule.”

But, ‘what if I don’t have health insurance?’ If you need emergency treatment after an accident, but you do not have health insurance, you cannot be turned away at an emergency room.  Additionally, if you require additional treatment after you visit the ER, there are some doctors that will allow patients to defer payment until their case settles.  Again, the best advice we can offer is to listen to your body.  If you’re in pain after an accident, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

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When you Should Call a Lawyer After a Car Accident?

Good lawyering matters. A good lawyer will take the time to develop evidence in your case and track down a hard-to-find piece of evidence—which could include surveillance or dash-cam video of the accident itself.  A good lawyer will also track down witnesses and interview them before their memories fade. A good lawyer also knows that you need to give notice to the at-fault driver’s insurer and to your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurer.  A good lawyer will also know about Georgia’s ante litem requirements and that failure to give a municipality timely notice can result in a legal bar of the claim.  See, e.g., O.C.G.A. § 36-33-5 (cities require notice within 6 months).  Each claim has unique characteristics.  A good lawyer will take the time to look at your case individually and determine how to increase the value of your case.  A good car accident lawyer doesn’t use a cookie-cutter playbook.

Think about who you want to be working with before you hire a lawyer.  Your case could last a while, and you’ll want a lawyer you can actually talk to – meaning, someone who will take your calls, keep you updated, and is pleasant to talk with.  Whatever you do, don’t hire a law firm that you’ve heard about on television advertisements or billboards.  Those tend to be huge law firms where each client is just a number and each case is moved through the system and disposed of as quickly as possible, even if it means settling cheap.  Hire a small law firm with lawyers who answer the phone and actually care about their clients.  A firm’s Google reviews can show what clients think of the firm, and videos posted by the firm (on YouTube or elsewhere) can give you a feeling for what the lawyers are actually like.

If you’re considering hiring our firm, call us or contact us in another way.  If we’re a good fit for your case, we’ll offer to take you on as a client.  If our firm is not a good fit for your case, we’ll tell you that, and we’ll recommend another good law firm that we think will be able to help.