At the scene of a car accident in which you were injured, you will want to start laying the foundation of your personal injury case.
First and foremost, after pulling over to the side of the road, check on any injured parties and call 911. Turn on your car’s flashers to alert other drivers of the hazard. Then, you should document the scene by taking photos and videos of your car’s damage, your injuries, and the scene itself.
Let the law enforcement officer who responds to the scene determine who is at fault. Do not admit fault or responsibility for the crash.
Remain at the Scene After a Car Crash
It is especially important for you to remain at the scene after an accident. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §40-6-270 requires that anyone involved in a crash must stay at the scene if anyone has been hurt or killed.
Should you leave the scene of a crash, even if it was not your fault, you could face legal repercussions. Additionally, you could jeopardize your chances of receiving a financial settlement from the liable party. By leaving the scene of the accident, the at-fault party’s insurer could argue that you acted negligently. This could complicate the claims process. Contact a car accident lawyer while you are still at the scene, if possible. They will guide you every step of the way and advise you what to do, what to refrain from saying, who to talk to, and how to collect witnesses’ contact details or other evidence. They will be there with you as soon as possible, insisting that you say nothing to anyone.
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Make a Note of Any Extenuating Circumstances
At the accident scene, if you have reason to believe that something in particular caused the crash, make a note of it. This is where photo and video documentation could help you.
Some things that you may want to make a note of include:
- Whether the other driver was intoxicated. If you notice that the other driver is slurring their words, unable to walk in a straight line, or otherwise appears intoxicated, you should share your concerns with the police officers at the accident scene. They may ask the other driver to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test to substantiate your claim.
- Whether the other car was roadworthy. If the other car had malfunctioning brake lights, a blown-out tire, or burned-out headlights, this information should be included in the police report. In this case, you could argue that because the other party did not maintain their vehicle, you got hurt.
- Whether the other motorist was driving recklessly. If the other driver was speeding, weaving in and out of lanes, or engaging in aggressive driving, you should report these facts to law enforcement.
Understanding the circumstances that led to the crash can help law enforcement determine fault, which will be a key element of your personal injury claim.
Avoid Confronting the Other Driver
After a car accident, you may believe that the other driver was at fault. You may be angry about the damage to your vehicle. However, you should not confront the other driver––even if you just want to know the reasons behind their actions.
Not only can this negatively affect your case, but it could lead to a physical altercation.
If the other driver attempts to confront you or bully you into not calling the police, you should avoid escalating the situation, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
If the other driver starts to act aggressively toward you, get back in your car and call the police. If they continue to harass you, use your phone and start recording the situation. This could be used as evidence later on to supplement your case.
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Do Not Attempt to Apprehend the Other Driver
Sometimes, the driver who hit you will become angry. They may even panic. Consequently, they may flee the scene of the crash before law enforcement arrives.
If the other driver tries to flee, you should not attempt to physically stop this from happening. By attempting to apprehend the other driver, you could put yourself in danger. Additionally, if you hurt them, you could be charged with assault.
Instead, take photographs of the other driver’s license plate. Try to frame the shot to show other details, including the car’s model, make, and any decals. This will help law enforcement track down the driver.
Preparing Your Personal Injury Case
The actions you take at the scene of a car accident can affect the outcome of your personal injury case.
Ultimately, you should let law enforcement and first responders handle the investigation. Answer their questions honestly. If they recommend that you go to the hospital in an ambulance to have your injuries examined, you should listen to them.
If another driver caused the crash, resulting in your injuries, you may have the right to seek damages for your pain, suffering, and medical bills. Consider hiring an Atlanta car accident lawyer to help you negotiate a settlement.
The team at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers knows how to handle insurance companies. To help you recover compensation, we will study the facts of your situation and build your case accordingly. For a free consultation, call us at (404) 888-8888.