What to do if you are involved in a car wreck

02/06/2012


Sooner or later it’s bound to happen to all of us.  When you combine too many cars on the road with hurried drivers who are distracted for a variety of reasons there are bound to be collisions.  Needless to say, such an event is sudden and traumatic, making most people incapable of clear thinking. With this in mind here is some food for thought that may help protect your rights when the unexpected happens.

Georgia law requires anyone involved in a motor vehicle collision to stop, exchange information and call the police.  This is true even if the collision is minor.  Failure to do this could result in criminal consequences.  If the collision is relatively minor and your vehicle can be safely moved, Georgia law further requires that the operators remove their vehicles from the roadway.  In the event you are unable to exit your vehicle due to injury, remain in your vehicle until help arrives.   

Drivers should exchange information, including names, addresses and insurance information.  With this in mind it is always a good idea to have paper and something to write with in your glovebox.  Obviously, if the other driver is agitated or aggressive you should not engage them and find a safe place to wait for help to arrive.  At the scene it is also critical to ascertain the names and contact information of any witnesses who may have seen the collision.  Many times witnesses will not have time to wait for the police to arrive so they will not be listed on the accident report.  Some witnesses may not “volunteer” their cooperation.  Don’t be shy in approaching them to secure their contact information.  Once they have left the scene you will likely never find them.  Another invaluable piece of evidence that you can secure is photographs of the vehicles and  accident scene.  Keep in mind that your cell phone may have a camera feature that will allow for invaluable photos to be captured.

The need to become your own “investigator” will pay big dividends should liability, or fault, be an issue in your case.  An insurance adjuster, judge or jury is more likely to see the facts your way if you can make a strong case with independent eyewitness testimony and supporting evidence.  Unless trained in giving testimony you should not talk about the collision or your injuries with the other driver’s insurance company, investigators or any other unknown inquirer.  Often times the aches and pains will not become symptomatic until sometime after the collision.  If needed, medical care should be promptly sought and any recommended treatment regimen followed. 

A lawyer who specializes in “personal injury” or “bodily injury” claims possesses the training and expertise to handle these matters.  The sooner such a lawyer is consulted the more beneficial he or she can be in pursuing your claim and in alleviating much of the aggravation that will follow.