The Six Steps You Need to Take After A Car Accident
STEP 1: What Should I Do At The Scene of a Car Accident?
Immediately after a Georgia accident, it can be easy to panic and forget what you are supposed to do. Here is a quick list to reference to help you:
Should I Call the Police to Come to the Scene of the Accident?
The short answer is Yes. If you watch the video, you will see that there can be negative repercussions to not calling the police after an accident in Georgia, especially when it involves an injury.
When the police come to the scene of the accident, they will investigate the scene, skid marks, testimonials of the drivers involved, and any witnesses. They will then draw up a Georgia Police Report, which can be crucial in a Georgia Personal Injury Claim. Without a police report, there might not be any other proof of how your injury happened. This can affect your case negatively if it goes to court, and might even get your request denied for compensation.
What the State Bar of Georgia Says: If you’re in an accident in Georgia, the Bar recommends 13 steps to take after an accident, one being that you call the police. See these two critical steps listed below:
Call the police
Police officers are trained to handle any situation. Accident victims generally suffer from shock and excitement and have trouble thinking clearly. If you are in a city or town, call the city police. If you are on a highway, call the GA State Patrol or sheriff’s office. A report will be made.
Comments to the police
Keep your notes and information strictly to yourself. Admit nothing and sign nothing even if you think you are wrong. You may learn later that you were not at-fault, or that the other driver was partially to blame. If at a later date fact clearly shows that you were entirely at fault, that is the time to admit the blame.
If you have been in a car accident in Georgia, and especially if you think you have been injured, you should call the police to make sure that your statement is taken, and that the accident was recorded correctly. This can protect your rights later if needed in court or with the insurance company.
You may find that you are having trouble with the other driver’s (at-fault) insurance company. They may try to say that the accident was partially your fault or blame you entirely. Even if liability (whose fault it is) is clear, the at-fault adjuster may still use tricky tactics to get you to harm your case by what you say. They may try and get a recorded statement too, which can be very dangerous to your case.
Please take this opportunity to make a quick and easy appointment with James Murphy to discuss your Georgia auto accident case with him. He handles cases like yours every day and would be happy to answer your questions. Before you call the attorney, order his FREE CAR ACCIDENT GUIDE.
Disclaimer: It is important to note that this is general information and should not be considered “legal advice.” I have been handling personal injury cases for many years. I can offer general answers to common questions, but please do not construe anything on this website to be legal advice about YOUR CASE. Each case is different! An attorney can only give legal advice when he or she understands the facts involved in your case.
How Do I Prove the Car Accident Wasn’t My Fault?
To find out who is responsible for your Georgia Car Accident, you’ll need to get the police report.
The police report will have the drivers listed on the report (ex: Driver V01 / Driver V02). On some reports, Driver #1 is at fault, but this isn’t always the case. In the report, the officer usually states who they believe is at fault in causing the accident.
Usually, but not always, the officer will write a traffic citation against the person who has caused the accident. There are times when both drivers may be partially at-fault, or a citation is given that is not related to the accident. Sometimes, the officer cannot tell who is at fault. They may report something like, “Due to conflicting stories, and the fact that there are no independent witnesses, it’s difficult to determine fault.”
It would be best if you had an attorney review the report (for free) to make sure you understand the description thoroughly, and what potential issues could come up when trying to get compensation from the insurance company.
NOT SURE HOW TO READ YOUR POLICE REPORT? If you don’t think the accident was your fault, you can call James Murphy to get your police report and review it with you for FREE. Call 770-577-3020.
HOW TO GET YOUR GA POLICE REPORT: Most of these reports are available online (for a fee) at https://www.buycrash.com/.You can also contact the police station that was at the scene to see if the report is ready, and you can pick it up at the station.
As an experienced accident attorney, I can usually tell who is at fault once a client describes how the accident happened. The person will most often say, “I was rear-ended” or “the other driver ran a red light.” Usually, these types of cases are pretty clear, and it is evident that another driver is at fault in causing the accident. However, you should ALWAYS get a copy of the police report. This report shows how the officer stated the accident happened and is what the insurance companies will look at when determining how they will pay for an insurance claim.
My advice to clients is: if there is any question of fault, order the police report as soon as possible. I always tell clients not to talk to an insurance adjuster right away – this is especially true when there is some question about who caused the accident. The insurance adjuster from the other driver’s insurance company could record the phone call and use what you say against you.
What if the Insurance Company Says the Auto Accident Was Partially My Fault?
If the insurance company is saying that you were partially at fault, there could be two reasons:
- Contributory Negligence
- Comparative Negligence
Contributory negligence is a law that recognizes that if a person was injured, in part, because they “contributed” to the Georgia Car Accident, the injured party would not be entitled to collect any/some of the money from another party who supposedly caused the accident. To have a valid injury claim, a person who is making the injury claim must not have somehow caused the injury by his or her conduct. They must use “ordinary care” to avoid the consequence of the other person’s negligence.
- EXAMPLE: If you are driving down the road and someone pulls out in front of you, if you can stop to avoid hitting the person, you have to stop. You cannot just run into the person, sustain an injury, and claim that the person is responsible.
Comparative negligence is a little different from contributory negligence. Comparative negligence is negligence in which two or more people both have some level of fault in causing an injury to occur.
So, if a person is somewhat at fault in causing his injury, that person’s error can serve to reduce the amount of money he may be able to recover in the proportion that his negligence compares to the other driver’s negligence. If the person who is claiming injury is considered more than 50% responsible for causing the accident, he will not be able to recover money from the other driver.
Here is an example of comparative negligence: You are driving down the road, not speeding, and you have the right of way. Suddenly, you see a fire off to the side of the road, and you become briefly distracted by looking at the fire.
Suddenly, someone pulls out in front of you, and you hit him and are injured. If you make a claim against the driver who pulled out in front of you, his insurance company will likely raise the defense of comparative negligence. They might claim that you could have avoided the accident if you had not been looking at the fire just before the accident occurred. It could be up to a jury to determine how much comparative negligence you have as the plaintiff and reduce the amount that your claim may be worth.
When there is some question about which driver caused a Georgia Car Accident to happen, insurance companies and lawyers start to throw around terms, such as contributory or comparative negligence. Sometimes, it can get pretty complicated in analyzing how much contributory or comparative negligence may be involved. Every case and accident situation is different.