Even a minor car accident can be a traumatizing event: physically, emotionally, and not the least of which financially. And while every car accident is different, as longtime personal injury attorneys we at Debranski & Associates can assure you there are at least four phone calls you need to make after any accident to make sure you can safely get back behind the wheel and on with your life.
1) Call 911
This isn’t just a good idea, it’s actually the law in Georgia. Georgia statute. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273 requires:
“The driver of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage to an apparent extent of $500.00 or more shall immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of such accident to the local police department if such accident occurs within a municipality. If such accident occurs outside a municipality, such notice shall be given to the office of the county sheriff or to the nearest office of the state patrol.”
Legal obligation aside, you’ll need a record of what happened taken down by an impartial observer. The police report filed after the accident will contain details gathered by the officer on the scene, and most of the time will include the officer’s evaluation of which driver is at fault. They don’t always assign 100% of the blame to one driver, but even if they find that most of the blame rests with the other driver in an accident this report will prove invaluable later on when you’re trying to recover damages or a settlement.
2) Call A Doctor
If you’ve suffered injuries as a result of the car accident you’ll need documentation of that fact. It’s a good idea to visit a doctor as soon as possible after an accident to take care of (and document) severe injuries like broken bones or cuts requiring stitches, but don’t forget that some soft tissue injuries can take a while to surface. If you’re able to, don’t second-guess yourself: see a doctor, find out for sure if you’re injured, if you are start thinking about your next steps.
3) Call Your Insurance Company
As with Georgia state law, this is usually a requirement of insurance providers. It’s good to get your insurance company as soon as possible, though, so they can send their own people out to assess and document the damage to your vehicle while starting the process of negotiating with the insurance of the other driver. They’ll also likely take a statement from you and compare that to the police report and whatever documentation you have from medical evaluations. From there, depending on your policy, they’ll be able to assist you with getting your vehicle repaired or issue a check if it’s totalled (that is, if the total damage to the vehicle exceeds the total worth of the vehicle.)
4) Call an Attorney
Your insurance company can help you some of the way, but you may be entitled to a larger settlement than an insurance company can pursue, especially if you’re seeking compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, or reimbursement for medical costs associated with the accident. And you don’t want to call just any attorney: you need someone experienced with handling personal injury claims and dealing with insurance companies that like to draw out insurance claims as a negotiating tactic.
Reach out today if you’re ready to work with someone who has been fighting for drivers in the North Atlanta Metro area for years. Debranski & Associates have a proven track record of fighting for our clients and we’ll work hard to get you the settlement you deserve.