There are over 6,000,000 motor vehicle collisions in the United States every year. While no one ever expects to be involved in one, there are some things you should know in case you or a loved one ever end up in such a situation.
First – Don’t Leave
To begin with, never leave the scene. In Georgia, it is illegal to leave the scene of a collision. Even if the wreck was your fault, you should never make matters worse by fleeing the scene.
Second – Check on Those Involved
Once you have determined that you are okay, if you are able, check on the other people involved. There may be something that needs immediate attention in order to prevent the situation from getting even worse. For example, if the vehicle is leaking gas, everyone needs to get away as soon as possible.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, be sure not to move someone unless it is absolutely necessary. There is a reason they secure football players to a stretcher before moving them off the field. If someone has a spinal injury, movement can make things even worse.
Third – Secure the Scene to Protect Others
The Golden Rule tells us to treat others as we would like to be treated. To that end, be sure to do what you can to let other motorists know what has happened. For example, you can set out road flares (if you have them), put out hazards warnings, or just turn on your flashers, of even waive down other motorists before they get to the scene. The last thing you want to happen is have more people involved if it can be avoided.
Fourth – Contact the Police and Exchange Info
Report the wreck to the proper authorities. This may be as easy as calling 911, but be sure the wreck is reported. Also, be sure that the vehicles involved stay where they are until the police arrive. The location of the vehicles could be very important, especially in cases where people don’t agree on who was at fault.
When giving your statement, be sure to give accurate information. There is no need to speculate or guess at what happened. Tell law enforcement what occurred as best as you can recall.
If there are any witnesses, be sure you get their contact information too. Don’t just depend that the officer will take it all down. Be proactive. To that end, be sure to get all of the witnesses’ addresses, phone numbers, and even emails if available. Emails tend to chance less than addresses and cell phone numbers.
You should also exchange contact information with the other party involved as well. This includes getting the name of their insurance company and their policy number. The easiest way to document this may be to take a picture of their insurance card with your smart phone. Speaking of photographs……
Fifth – Document the Scene (Photographs)
Its always a good idea to get photographs of the scene. Use your smart phone to get pictures of the vehicles involved and any injuries you may have suffered. Be sure to get photographs of the vehicles that show the body damage as well as some that include background information to establish the vehicles’ point of rest. For example, is your car still on the roadway, or is it on the shoulder of the highway? Also, is there a tree, bush, or house, that can be used in the background to establish where the vehicles came to rest? Is there a mark in the highway that shows the point of impact? All of this this information can be very helpful to any collision reconstructionist that may be hired at a later date.
Sixth – Report the Wreck to Insurance
You will also need to be sure to report the wreck to your insurance company. Many policies contain a provision that they only provide insurance coverage to you if report the claim in writing within a “reasonable” time period. This has been interpreted to mean anything from “as soon as possible,” to a certain number of days. In either event, be sure to at least call your insurance agent to let him or her know or jump online and file a claim through the insurance company’s website.
Seventh – Seek Medical Care if Needed
After a wreck, it is not uncommon for adrenaline to pump through a person’s body. This chemical dump of adrenaline can, and often does, mask many injuries to the point that the injury will not be apparent until hours after the collision. In fact, many of our clients report that they did not feel any pain until they woke up the next day. If you are injured, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible, either at the hospital or your primary care doctor.
Insurance companies like to argue that if you did not seek immediate medical attention, then you must not be hurt. We all know this blanket statement is not true, but insurers do a great job of trying to minimize people’s injuries so they can have larger profit margins.
Eighth – Call The Kirbo Law Firm
You should also investigate and protect your rights. To do this, call us at The Kirbo Law Firm for a free consultation. We have decades of experience fighting with insurers to protect our client’s rights. Let us help you avoid the delays that insurers attempt to put on your claim and ensure that you and your family are taken care of throughout your recovery. Call us today.