Over six million people get into car accidents every year. So chances are good that, as a Georgia resident, you’ve either had an accident already or that you’ll one day be involved in one.
When the other driver is clearly at fault and tries to blame you, however, things can get especially tense. In this post, you’ll learn exactly what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault.
Remember that how you act both on the scene and immediately afterward can have a direct impact on the outcome of your case if it goes to court.
It can also change the potential settlement you’ll receive and even the kind of coverage you get from your health and car insurance companies.
The truth is that one wrong move can jeopardize everything! Learn what to do in this situation below.
What to Do on the Scene
The average person will have anywhere from three to four car crashes in their lifetime. Sometimes, you’ll clearly be the person in the wrong. But you also need to be prepared if you’re involved in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
First, let’s talk about what you need to do on the scene.
Before anything else, assess your injuries and determine if you’re able to either get out of the car or get the car off of the road. Next, even if you don’t see any visible injuries and before you even look at the level of damage to your car, call law enforcement.
While they’re on their way, you’ll need to act quickly.
Start by taking pictures of your injuries and damage to your car. Take pictures of the other driver’s car, the accident scene, and of course, the other driver’s license plate number.
Especially if the other driver is belligerent and defensive, do not engage with them.
Even if they’re polite to you, be wary. Never admit that you were at fault in any way, no matter how much they try to intimidate you.
Instead, focus on collecting witness statements. Gather the contact information of these witnesses in case you need to use these statements later on.
Once the police and any medical professionals arrive on the scene, tell them what happened. Collect their badge numbers and your case number and know which precinct they work within.
Immediately Following the Accident
Don’t just sit around saying, “I got into a car accident — not my fault!”
Instead, take action. Be prepared for the other person to fight back no matter how “understanding” they seemed on the scene.
First, even if you feel fine, we strongly urge you to go see a medical professional or head to a Georgia urgent care clinic. Remember that many injuries, especially the more serious ones like brain swelling and internal bleeding, aren’t visible to the naked eye.
You should also go back in for treatment/examinations a few weeks after the accident. Many car accident injuries have a delayed onset of symptoms. Always remember to save any and all medical and car repair bills.
Finally, contact your insurance company as quickly after your exams and treatment as possible to get the ball rolling on your claims. Remember that companies work on the order in which calls were received, not based on the severity of your injuries or the expense of your treatment.
Work with the Right Lawyer
Unfortunately, insurance claims and allegations from other the other driver can get out of control quickly.
The health insurance company may attempt to bully or threaten you into taking an amount of money for reimbursement and medical care that’s far less than what you’re actually owed.
They may claim that it’s the “highest amount you’ll be offered” (this is seldom true). Don’t try to negotiate on your own — hire an attorney instead.
The insurance companies may also try to claim that any injuries you sustained existed before the accident. They may also claim aren’t as serious as you say, or that they don’t require them to reimburse you. In extreme cases, the insurance company may stop returning your calls altogether.
This is certainly a situation where you should lawyer up. Having a lawyer on your side means you’ll know what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault. They’ll assist you with filing the proper paperwork.
They will also ensure you follow the settlement/lawsuit process completely. You don’t want a missed filing deadline to be the reason you weren’t compensated. The right car accident attorney can bring in medical and criminal investigation professionals who can prove that you weren’t at fault and that your injuries were a result of the accident.
Plus, they can help you to get the highest amount of money possible — whether for your medical bills, time off of work, and emotional pain/suffering associated with the accident.
Understand What to Do After a Car Accident That’s Not Your Fault
Especially in the shock of the immediate aftermath of a wreck, it can be almost impossible clearly think about what to do after a car accident that’s not your fault.
Reading this post has helped you to prepare for an accident so that you can stay safe and collect the information you need to move forward.
If you’ve been in a car accident of any kind, the right move is to find legal representation that has years of experience with car accident cases. Find a lawyer that’s not afraid of powerful insurance companies, one that has strong industry connections, and someone who you feel like can clearly explain their strategies for your case.
Do you need legal help after being involved in a car accident that wasn’t your fault? If so, contact us today to set up a consultation with an Atlanta car accident attorney and work towards getting what you deserve.
Seth Bader is an Auto accident, Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Atlanta, Rome, Savannah, Norcross, Carrollton, Georgia. He graduated from Florida State University College of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years. Seth Bader believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.