Car accidents are exactly that: accidents. Nearly no one ever intends for one to happen, but they do. You or one of your passengers may suffer a personal injury if you are involved in an auto accident. Whether you realize the injury immediately, or it takes a few hours for certain facts to come to light, you should always follow the same steps. Immediately after a car accident, do the following four things:
- Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Admit Fault. Whether the accident is your fault or not, choose your words wisely. You will need to tell the officer at the scene the facts as you saw them unfold, but don’t explicitly say, “It was my fault.” Fault may be up in the air at this point, and it may take an investigation to establish fault. If you admit fault, you open yourself up for a personal injury case against yourself where there may not otherwise have been a case. State the facts of the sequence of events and nothing else.
- Accept or Seek Medical Attention. When we are involved in a personal injury accident, adrenaline takes over. Even if you do not feel any injuries immediately after the accident, you may feel them later as the adrenaline wears off. You may also have a head injury that is not immediately obvious. It is always best to document and treat any injuries as soon as possible after they occur. This early documentation will also help you later on if there is a dispute about how much the insurance company or responsible party should pay.
- Document Everything. If you are able, take your own pictures of the accident scene. Take more pictures than you think you’ll need, and be sure to capture every aspect of every vehicle involved. As soon as the police report is available, pick up a copy for your records. Even if a personal injury case does not result from the accident, you will still need these records for your insurance claim. Be sure to take your own notes while the events are still fresh in your mind. It can be surprising just how quickly we can forget small details that may be important.
- Meet with a Personal Injury Lawyer in Atlanta, Ga. The officer own the scene may ask you to sign your statement or, if you are at fault, a citation. You should not sign anything else from any other party before you consult with an attorney. You can ask a personal injury attorney what to do to protect yourself legally, or, if you have sustained an injury, what you should do to ensure compensation for your expenses and suffering.
Ultimately, it can all be summed up in one sentence: Document the events, choose your words carefully, get medical attention, and seek legal counsel before you do anything.
If you follow this instruction, you can be sure that you are as protected as you can be, no matter which side of the personal injury you are on.