No one is ever truly prepared for a car accident—you’re simply driving along, maybe listening to your favorite song, and out of nowhere your life changes in an instant. Although every accident is different, there are some important steps you need to take after you’ve been involved in one to make sure that the police and insurance companies have all of the information they need to make a determination of fault and compensate the victims. If an accident is particularly serious, you may even need to hire an attorney.
Let’s take a look at the steps you need to take immediately after an accident and when you might want to consider hiring an attorney.
- Stay at the scene: If you have not suffered injuries or suffered only minor injuries, it is important that you remain at the scene of the accident until police and/or medical personnel arrive. Failure to do so can result in criminal penalties.
- Exchange information: Get the names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers, and insurance information from all of the drivers involved.
- Do not apologize: Even if you think the accident was your fault, do not apologize—this may be considered an unintentional admission of liability. Instead, simply ask if everyone is okay.
- Take pictures: Retaining photos of the accident helps insurance companies determine how much you should be compensated for the damage to your vehicle.
- Keep track of medical treatment: if you were injured in the accident, keep track of any medical treatment you received after the accident. These records can help you prove your medical expenses to insurance companies or to a court.
- Use caution when discussing the accident: Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than your lawyer, your insurance company, and the police. Do not speak to the other driver’s insurance company or lawyer, and inform your insurance company or lawyer if the other party’s insurance company or lawyer has attempted to contact you.
When to Hire an Attorney After a Car Accident
Relatively simple accidents like “fender-benders” can usually be handled directly through insurance companies and rarely present the need for an attorney. However, if you were involved in an accident that involved more serious consequences or criminal behavior, you may want to consider hiring an attorney. Issues that warrant legal representation include:
- Physical injury
- Significant property damage
- Reckless driving
- Drunk driving
- Vicarious liability for for employers of commercial drivers
Car accident attorneys are experienced in handling all of the issues surrounding these types of injuries, including personal injury claims, wrongful death, and liability determinations. In cases like these, an attorney can assist you in getting compensation to cover the losses you sustained in an accident.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Attorney
The lawyers at Slappey & Sadd are experienced car accident attorneys who protect the interests of individuals and families in the event of serious personal injury or wrongful death. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve Atlanta and the entire state of Georgia, including Roswell, Marietta, Smyrna, and Decatur.