Traffic Accidents

Personal Injury: Traffic Accidents

Traffic Accident Attorneys. Take steps to preserve your legal rights.Atlanta is known for its sports, concerts, and of course, the Varsity. Perhaps above all else, however, Atlanta is also known for its traffic. With that traffic, unfortunately, comes motor vehicle accidents. Not every traffic accident will require the involvement of an attorney. If you are involved in a car accident, however, it is important to know what to do, what your rights and responsibilities are, and how to be made whole if you have suffered property damage or injuries due to someone else’s negligent driving.

 

What should I do if I am involved in an accident?

The first thing to do is make sure everyone is okay. If anyone involved in the accident is in need of emergency medical care, call 911 immediately. Even if there are no significant injuries, it is important to call the police to report the accident as soon as possible. If the accident has resulted in serious injury or death, or if the vehicles are damaged to the extent that they cannot be safely driven without causing additional damage, do not attempt to move them. Otherwise, you should clear the roadway by moving the vehicles to a safe place off the road, such as a shoulder or emergency lane. Again, safety is the number one priority, so if you cannot move your car safely, do not attempt to do so.

 

When the police officer arrives at the scene, they will conduct an investigation. This usually involves taking statements from the drivers involved, as well as any witnesses. If the accident was relatively minor, this may be the extent of the investigation. If the accident resulted in serious injury or death, however, the officer may conduct a much more significant investigation to determine what happened. At the end of the investigation, the officer will write up an accident or incident report. This report will become an extremely important document moving forward, and you will want to be sure to ask the officer for a copy of it. If the report is not available at the scene, you may need to contact the police station to get a copy of it once it has been completed.

 

In addition to the police report, it is important to obtain and preserve as much evidence of the accident as possible. At the scene, you will want to grab your phone or camera and take pictures of as much of the accident as you can. This includes the scene of the accident, as well as damage to all vehicles involved. You’ll want to get the driver’s contact information and insurance information, as well as the contact information of any witnesses at the scene. If you have visible injuries, such as bruises, cuts, or swelling, you should take pictures of those as well. Again, remember that your safety is the most important consideration, so do not delay treatment for a significant injury, or put yourself at risk of further injury, for the sake of taking pictures at the scene.

 

After you’ve left the scene of the accident, you’ll want to continue to gather evidence of your losses. This includes quotes from body shops, medical records and bills, and evidence of any time you’ve had to take off work. This evidence will become important when it comes to assessing your losses and, ultimately, how much money you are owed.

 

When should I file an insurance claim?

Most insurance policies will require you to notify them as soon as possible after an accident occurs, even if you are not at fault. Failing to notify your insurance company, or failing to cooperate with their investigation, can result in their refusal to provide coverage for the accident. You will need to check your insurance policy to ensure that you understand what your obligations and rights are when it comes to reporting the accident to your insurer.

 

If you were not at fault in the accident, you may want to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. When talking to the other driver’s insurance company, however, it is important to remember that they are not on your side. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company might be on the hook to pay for repairing the damage to your car, as well as for compensating you for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can see why, then, they may not be so keen to keep your best interest in mind. The insurance adjuster will not hesitate to use any statement you make against you to try to reduce the damages they have to pay. While you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company, you are not required to do so with the other driver’s insurance company. It is generally the best course of action to speak to an attorney before you speak to an adjuster with the other driver’s insurance company to ensure that your claim is protected, and that you get fully compensated for your losses.

 

What happens if the other driver has no insurance or is underinsured?

Georgia law requires all motorists to carry motor vehicle insurance. Unfortunately, not all drivers are insured and, even if they are insured, their policy may not have enough coverage to fully compensate you for the damages you’ve suffered. If you were in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, there may be other options available to help compensate you for your losses. It is strongly suggested that you speak to an attorney to discuss these options, and determine which of them may be available to you before you take a settlement from any source. If you take a settlement that does not cover your damages, your options may be cut off and you may be left with no source of compensation for the rest of your losses.