Getting rear-ended or side-swiped while traveling on a Georgia street or highway can be a disorienting and frightening experience regardless of the severity of the crash.
Your priority should be to assess whether you or anyone else is injured and immediately call 911 for an ambulance. Next, call the police to report the accident. From there, take steps to protect yourself should you need to file an insurance claim or bring legal action.
Avoid errors that can cause insurance and legal nightmares
Too many drivers fail to take simple steps at an accident scene, resulting in denied insurance claims or reduced personal injury awards that may not cover medical expenses or property damage. Here are five of the most common mistakes:
- Not taking photos: Documenting an accident scene with pictures is the best way to record the location and the damage resulting from the crash. It can also disclose what road conditions were like as well as the weather.
- Not collecting evidence: Besides photos, gather documentation, such as medical reports outlining injuries sustained in the crash. Get contact information from witnesses. On the property damage side, provide paperwork on your car’s amenities and upgrades so an adjuster will figure that into its value.
- Saying you’re “OK”: Never tell anyone that you are feeling fine after a crash until a doctor has thoroughly checked you out. Some injuries take hours or days to show up. Making a simple statement right after a collision can keep you from being reimbursed for medical treatment.
- Lying about the crash: We live in a world of security cameras and social media. If you think you’re at fault and make false statements, they can typically be disproven. In many cases, that will invalidate a claim and possibly open you up to charges and a greater share of responsibility for the crash.
- Sharing too much: If questioned by police, answer their questions, but only give the facts and don’t offer additional comments. Never talk to the other party’s insurance company. Instead, refer them to your attorney, who understands an insurer’s only goal is to protect their bottom line.
Georgia averages 70 accidents every hour
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, more than 1,700 motor vehicle accidents happen every day in the state, most of which involve passenger cars. Many of these result in fatalities or serious injuries.
If you are in an accident, it’s crucial to take these steps, ensuring you are compensated for damage to your property. But more importantly, it’s essential to make sure all medical expenses are covered regardless of whether they involve a short-term or long-term recovery period.