You could be pulling out of your driveway, making a turn or simply going through a green light when another driver disregards traffic rules and slams into your car. A car accident in Atlanta can happen in mere moments, but the consequences will last much longer.
Right after you’ve been hit, you may feel so shaken up that you don’t know what to do, but following the right steps is important to minimize the damage after a car accident. This checklist is for you, and our Atlanta car accident attorneys are standing by to answer any questions or concerns you might have.
- Take down the other driver’s vehicle information: After a car crash, you don’t want to risk being involved in a hit-and-run. Some careless drivers may attempt to speed away because they are uninsured or simply don’t want to deal with the consequences after they have hit someone. That’s why you should take note of the other driver’s vehicle information – license plate, make, model and color – as soon as you can after a car crash. Snap a picture with your smartphone or record a voice note. You could also write it down on a piece of paper or simply repeat the information in your head until you can make a note of it.
- Call 911: Law enforcement should always be called after a car accident, even if it seems minor. Don’t make the mistake that police should only be involved in major accidents where there are noticeable injuries. An officer will be able to make sure you are safe from other vehicles on the road, from the other driver and will be able to quickly notify paramedics if necessary. The most important aspect of calling police to the scene of a car accident in Atlanta is for the purposes for a report. A police report will be crucial to have in hand when dealing with the insurance company or when you need to speak to a car accident attorney.
- Check for injuries: Make sure your passengers are okay. Record any pain you or passengers feel, as well as any cuts, bruises or lacerations you have experienced. Make note of anyone feeling disoriented as well. If you and the other people in your vehicle are uninjured, you still need to take precautions when getting out of your vehicle. Right after an accident, there is a possibility that other motorists will hit you. That’s why you should never step out of the car into moving traffic and you should be especially carefully of exiting your vehicle at night.
- Take note of witnesses: Did anyone see the accident unfold? While you’re waiting for police, look around for witnesses, including pedestrians, customers at a nearby business or business owners themselves. Ask them if they saw what happened. If so, ask if they would share their account with police. You should also take down their names and contact information; they may be able to provide support for your claim later. Don’t attempt to record their statements yourself, let the police officer do it or notify an Atlanta car accident attorney who can handle the interviews.
- Exchange information with the other driver: Keep your cool when speaking to the other driver. It may be hard not to lose your temper, but this could hurt you later, especially if the other driver decides to hire an attorney. Avoid discussing personal details or admitting fault by saying you’re sorry – this could be considered an admission of liability in court. Instead, stick to the basics of exchanging contact information and insurance information. Don’t ever agree to handle car accident payments without notifying police or the car insurance company. You may not ever see that driver again. You also don’t know whether or not they will balk when they see the costs of the car accident or if his/her insurance policy is valid. Many drivers on the road who are uninsured carry around expired or faked insurance policies in case of an accident.
- Report the accident to your insurance company: An insurance notification is different from an insurance claim. Even if you’re not sure whether you want to handle repairs and damages through an insurance claim, your insurance company representative can help you discuss your options. This could include assessing whether repairing your car out-of-pocket will be cheaper than claiming repairs, especially if the estimate of damages is cheaper than your deductible.