Most people don't think about car accidents until we hear about a tragic wreck on the news, or find ourselves driving in dangerous conditions. Even then, very few of us consider what steps we would take if we were involved in an accident, or who would pay for the property damage and medical bills that often result from a wreck. Unfortunately, failure to take the proper steps after an accident can weaken your case and reduce your settlement amount.
If you are involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you should take three steps as quickly as possible: gather evidence, report the accident, and contact a lawyer.
- Gathering Evidence: The more evidence you have-and the sooner you get it-the better. If you are able to take photographs at the scene of the accident, do so. As soon as you are able, write down everything you remember about the accident. Don't trust your memory, especially in a traumatic situation like a car wreck. Our memories play tricks on us, and your story should be clear and consistent, so write it all down. If you are injured and unable to take pictures or write clearly, ask a friend to help you, or speak with your attorney.
- Reporting an Accident: If you are involved in an auto accident, you should report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible to begin the claims process. If a police officer is not called to the scene of the wreck, you should also obtain a Georgia Personal Report of Accident form. When reporting the accident, be clear and consistent. This is no time to be shy, or overly generous to another driver if that driver was at fault. Promptly reporting your accident shows that you are a good citizen, and provides another piece of evidence in your case.
- Contact a Lawyer if you have any doubts about your rights and responsibilities following a Georgia car wreck, or if:
- You or someone you care for has been injured or a loved one was killed in the accident
- You feel that the settlement offer is too low
- You believe that your insurance adjuster is not working in your best interest
- You feel that the police report of your accident is inaccurate
- Your insurance claim is denied
- Another party in the accident has already hired a lawyer
If you have questions about your auto accident claim or you don't know whether you have a case, contact the Law Offices of R Shane Smith. Shane Smith is an experienced advocate for Georgia's injured.