What to Do After a Car Accident in Georgia
Car accidents remain a major problem in Georgia and throughout our country. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) reports that more than 350,000 accidents take place in the state each year. While some of these accidents are relatively minor, many are extremely serious. In the year 2016 alone, more than 130,000 people sustained injuries on Georgia roadways. Tragically, there were also 1,541 fatalities. As car accidents remain a real threat, it is imperative that all drivers know exactly what to do after a crash. Here, our Atlanta car accident attorneys discuss the steps you should take after a crash to ensure that you are protecting both your legal rights and your well-being.
Stop Your Vehicle, Stay at the Scene and Report the Accident
After an accident in Georgia, you must stop your vehicle and remain at the scene of the crash until authorities arrive. Under O.C.G.A. 40-6-273, this applies to any auto accidents that result in either an injury or at least $500 of property damage. These accidents must be reported to the appropriate state or local highway authorities. Beyond being the law, it is also in your best interest to ensure that a police officer comes to the scene of your accident. This is because you will want an officer to write an official accident report. One tip: Do not admit fault for the accident. Put simply, while you are at the scene of the crash you will be under stressful conditions. You are in no position to properly assess whether or not you were actually to blame for the crash.
Exchange Insurance Information and Contact Information
Under Georgia law, drivers also have a legal duty to exchange up-to-date insurance information and contact information with the other parties involved in the accident. You should be sure to have your insurance card with you at all times. Once again, do not admit fault for the accident to the other driver. In some cases, other drivers will try to blame you for the accident or pressure or intimidate you into accepting fault. Your only obligation at this time is to exchange information. If the other driver refuses to exchange information, you need to get the police involved.
Seek Medical Attention
If you were seriously injured in a crash, please seek immediate emergency medical attention. Your health and safety comes before anything else. Even if your injury does not require emergency attention, you should still schedule an appointment with a doctor. Many car accident injuries are far more severe than they initially seem. This is true because your body is full of adrenaline that can mask the pain and also because many car accident injuries come with a delayed onset. Beyond protecting your health, you will need to see a doctor in order to preserve evidence necessary to bring a personal injury claim.
You should also take proactive steps to document your accident. Documentation comes in many different forms, including photographs. Photographs are a highly compelling form of evidence. You need to act quickly after your crash to obtain pictures of the damage to your vehicle, the accident scene, the weather, the damage of the other cars, and your injuries. It is always better to take more photos as you will never know ahead of time which ones will be useful for your claim.
Consult with an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
Finally, if you were seriously injured in a car accident, you should be represented by an experienced attorney. Of course, not all accident claims require legal assistance. As a general rule, if you sustained less than $4,000 in damages, you can probably handle your accident claim on your own. However, if you sustained more damages, you need an attorney by your side throughout the entirety of the claims process. Victims without legal representation often make avoidable mistakes that result in them recovering less compensation.
Request Your Free Initial Consultation Today
At The Simon Law Firm, our team has helped many injured car accident victims recover the full and fair compensation they rightfully deserve. Indeed, attorney Christopher Simon wrote the book on buying car insurance and handling car accident claims in Georgia. To learn more about what we can do to help you, please do not hesitate to call us today at (404) 259-7635 to set up a free review of your claim. From our office in Atlanta, we serve victims throughout the region, including in Fulton County, Dekalb County, Gwinnett County and Forsyth County.
Frequently Asked Questions
After a car accident, the hospital asked for the police report. Should I give it to them?
Normally, no. Here are the rules:
- If you have health insurance, make sure you give the information to the hospital. The hospital has the right to ask if you are covered by medical payments insurance attached to car insurance. If you do not have it, then the hospital MUST bill your health insurance. they will often tell you they cannot after a car accident; that is a lie. They must under the contract.
- The reason they want the police report is to send a Notice of Medical Lien to the insurance company for the at fault driver. Once this notice is in place, the hospital is in the driver's seat and can insist on full payment of the bill even though there can be as much as 600% markup on the bill.
hi. my son was in a car accident. he was charged with following to closely. two other cars was involved. we had full coverage on his vehicle but the insurance co. had him listed as a an excluded driver. so they are not paying any of the claims. now we are getting letters from the other persons insurance attorneys. can u help?
Unfortunately when you have a named excluded driver, you have specifically eliminated that person from the insurance coverage, usually because of their young age and the effect on rates or because of a bad driving history. If you allow them to drive, you can pay a steep price. You cannot have it both ways.
Hi. I have a question. I live in ga and my attorny is submitting my settlement package to the opposing side this week. He is telling me we can only go for 25k because that is the liability limit on the opposing sides insurance policy. Is this correct? Can I not ask for more?
First of all, when I see a question from a family like this, I know they hired the wrong lawyer. A good attorney client relationship is founded on communication . As a client, you should expect complete explanations from your attorney about the options. Getting to the heart of the question, in Georgia, the minimum car insurance limits are indeed $25,000 and most people carry that coverage. The only protection against people with insurance limits that may be too low for a serious injury is to go after your own Georgia underinsured motorist insurance. This is insurance you paid for to protect you if you are badly hurt by someone with small limits. It is essential that you put your own insurance company on notice of ANY crash you are involved in, no matter whose car it is, within 60 days or you risk the insurance company trying to get out of coverage.
In this scenario, if the chatter has underinsured coverage and it is of the "added on" variety, they should be able to pursue more than the $25,000 in coverage.
I was in an accident and the insurance company blamed me. I was not at fault and want my insurance company to "take it off my record" because it wasn't my fault.
Unfortunately, the internal evaluation run by an insurance company is a private business decision and you cannot reverse their internal decision on who caused the car accident. They run complicated algorithms based on the probability of you getting into other crashes, often without regard for who may have caused a past crash. This is just a statistical fact of life.
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