In the state of Georgia, auto owners are required to have basic liability insurance for any vehicle. The laws in Georgia follow a modified comparative fault rule. The mathematical equation establishes the percentage of fault for each driver.
This calculation determines the entire property replacement and injury liability amounts due from the auto accident. An experienced car accident lawyer in Decatur can help calculate the amount due to you.
Call SHElaw firm® today at 470-378-1162. We offer these six tips to help you through a difficult time.
At the Scene of the Car Accident, DO NOT SAY:
“Can We Just Settle this Between Ourselves?”
It is very tempting to want to agree on damages with the other driver, swap cash and go. The other driver may have reasons of their own for pushing this idea.
In Georgia state law, you must notify the police when property damage exceeds $500, or a person is injured or killed. Collision repair is expensive, and minimal damage can quickly add up to the $500 limit.
You may lose all insurance benefits from the other carrier or your own if you do not report the incident. Symptoms from the injury may not appear for a week or so, causing you to need help with medical expenses.
The physicians might need to run a battery of tests to isolate the problem and determine if it is related to the accident. This can get very expensive.
Apologizing for anything at the scene of an auto accident can be taken out of context. Don’t say sorry or apologize at the scene at all.
Don’t tell the other drivers that you are sorry for the traffic backup or apologize on the phone to your sister for not making it to dinner.
The things you say can and will be used against you. In this digital age, video is constantly filming, and it does not always tell the whole truth.
“My Fault / I Didn’t See You”
Saying it was your fault, or you didn’t even see the other car can imply that you didn’t do something that maybe you should have.
Even if you think it may have been some or all of your fault, now is not the time to mention that. Discuss that with your auto accident attorney, so they can help you with the best strategy.
When speaking with the police or anyone at the scene, do not say “I think” about anything. “I am not sure” is the best response if asked a question you do not know the correct answer to or if you need to discuss it with your attorney before answering.
Do not guess or estimate speeds or distances even if encouraged to. Do not lie to the police, insurance companies, or other attorneys.
“Let Me Explain…”
Some people want to explain or elaborate their actions and decisions. The scene of an accident is not an occasion to be one of those people. Answer questions politely and with information that is easily available. Do not go into a lengthy explanation.
It is better at this time to say as little as possible. You may be injured or have a concussion and not be answering the questions accurately. You may unintentionally be providing false information. Keep your answers at a minimum. Yes or No are the best answers.
“I Am Not Hurt.”
You may not feel hurt immediately after the accident, but do not state that you have not sustained any injury in the accident. Your major organs are flooding with oxygen, adrenalin, and blood, and you may not feel pain.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t be hurting tomorrow. Some muscle and nerve sprains show up days later. If you think you are unhurt, say you do not wish transport.
To be safe, make an appointment to consult your physician within the next few days. If the EMTs advise, you should accept the ambulance transport.
Do Not Post on Social Media.
Posting things about the accident can jeopardize your ability to succeed at a claim. Making light of the accident or your injuries will be considered evidence in a legal battle.
Pictures of you running a 5K the day after your accident will make winning a claim for back injuries difficult. Avoid social media until you talk to your attorney.
If you have a personal blog that you post to regularly, do not mention the accident or your injuries. You can explain all about it after your case settles.
If you need to post about your problems because they affect your life, simply say you are getting a new car, or you are having back problems. Do not elaborate.
In Conversations with the Other Insurance Company, Do Not Say:
“Yes, I Agree”, “Yes, I Consent”, or “I Will Give You My Official Statement”.
The other driver’s insurance adjuster will contact you, do not agree to a recorded statement. Consult your attorney before signing anything. The best approach is to provide the adjuster with your attorney’s contact information.
Your claim may be reduced or denied based on the statement. Do not ever accept the first claim settlement offered. It may seem appealing to accept this offer to get it all over with, but you will end up hurting yourself.
The first settlement offer is usually only a fraction of what you will need for a full recovery. You may incur medical expenses that come up throughout your recovery or some other unforeseen expenses.
You should always consult with a personal injury lawyer to ensure you receive a fair settlement. Tell the story from your perspective to your attorney. They will help you write it out, so it is consistent and accurate.
Once you have given your official statement to the attorney, that statement will be used in all future proceedings. Using this statement will simplify the process for you and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Things You Should Say After a Car Accident
Now that we have established what not to say after an accident, here are a few tips on what you should say:
Turn on your emergency flashers, grab your cell phone, be very careful exiting your vehicle, and go to the other car.
“Is Anyone Hurt? Do You Need Medical Attention?”
In some crashes, there will be injuries. If anyone is in need of medical attention, relay any necessary details to the paramedics.
“Has Anyone Called the Police Yet?”
The police will most likely need to make an accident report. Call the police to start the investigation and get you back on the road quickly. Do not move the vehicles unless instructed. The police will direct traffic to ensure safety.
“Can I Get Your License and Insurance Information, Please?”
Snap a photo of their license and insurance information just in case they leave before the police arrive. Sometimes, the officer does not get the information correctly.
It is important that you get this information to your insurance adjuster quickly. Be willing to provide your information to the other driver also. Try to get the names and phone numbers of any other drivers or spectators that may be witnesses.
Get in Touch with a Decatur Auto Accident Lawyer Today
We each assume a duty of care to uphold traffic laws and act reasonably when we drive on public roads and highways. At times this duty of care is violated, either accidentally or through someone’s negligence.