What To Do After An Automobile Accident

Things You Need to Do after an Automobile Accident 

  1. Never leave the scene of an accident, even if it is minor.
  2. Protect the Scene. You can prevent further accidents by keeping your flashers on and setting flares.
  3. Call the Police. Even if there are no serious injuries, it is a good idea to call the local police.  It may be necessary to have a police report to file a claim with your insurance company, even if it is just to make a claim for damages to your own vehicle.  The vehicles involved in the accident should remain where they are, unless they are interfering with traffic or the police officer instructed you move them.
  4. Make an Accurate Record. When the police arrive, make sure you tell investigators exactly what happened, to the best of your ability.  If you do not know certain facts, do not speculate or guess about any of the facts.  If anyone asks you if you are injured it is better to say that you are not sure rather than no.  Often, the pain and injuries from motor vehicle/truck accidents do not appear immediately but may appear later.
  5. Take Pictures. If you happen to have a camera in your vehicle or a cell phone equipped with a camera, you should take pictures of the vehicles if there is visible damage.  If you have injuries, you should photograph these as well.  However, you should in no way interfere with the ongoing police investigation.  If you cannot take pictures at the scene of the accident, take them as soon as possible after the accident.
  6. Exchange information. Typically, the investigating police officer collects this information.  However, if the police do not respond to the accident he should obtain the name, address and telephone number of all persons involved in the accident, drivers and passengers alike.  You should also obtain information about insurance by asking to see the insurance card for all vehicles involved in the accident.  If there are witnesses, you should get information from them as well so that you or your attorney can contact them in the future.  If the local police responded to the accident, the investigating officer usually will provide all drivers with a police report number.  You can use that number later to obtain the police report.  If the accident occurred on a state Highway, you must request a report from the state police.
  7. Report the Accident. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible.  Many policies require immediate reporting and full cooperation.  Find out if you have medical benefits as part of your insurance coverage–known as” MEDPAY”–so you should use it.  In fact, if you have MEDPAY coverage, you are required to submit your accident related medical bills to your insurance company.  Once these benefits are exhausted then your health insurance becomes your primary insurer. MEDPAY are available to all occupants of the vehicle.  Georgia law indicates that you insurance rates should not increase as result of submitting claims for MEDPAY benefits.
  8. Seek Medical Attention. Often, injuries from motor vehicle/truck collisions are not immediately apparent.  Most victims report feeling the most pain a day or two after the collision.  Unless you are absolutely certain you are not injured, you should seek medical attention at your local emergency room, your family physician or your family chiropractor even in an accident with minor impact, you can sustain serious permanent injury to your spine.  If you lost consciousness or were dazed, even for a short period of time following the collision, you may have suffered a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury or closed head injury.  This can cause cognitive and behavioral changes if left untreated.
  9. Keep a File. Keep all your accident related documents and information together.  This information should include a claim number, the claims adjuster who is handling your claim, the names and phone numbers of all contacts, receipt for rental car and other expenses incurred as result of the accident.
  10. Protect Your Rights. Perhaps the most important thing you should do after an accident is consult with an attorney.  Unfortunately, the insurance company for the at-fault driver is not your friend.  A reputable, experienced attorney can protect your rights and assure that you get proper compensation for damage to your vehicle and the injuries you have suffered.