Steps to Take After a Decatur Car Accident
Car accidents may happen every day in the state of Georgia, but that does not mean anyone expects to be involved in one themselves. If you find yourself the victim of a roadway wreck, it can be hard to know for certain which actions should be prioritized over others, or even what you should do in the first place.
Knowing the steps to take after a Decatur car accident and executing on them efficiently can make a huge difference in your future prospects. While talking to a car accident attorney is certainly one of those key steps, there are also several other responsibilities and requirements you should be aware of.
Contacting Law Enforcement and Helping Others Involved
According to Official Code of Georgia §40-6-273, Decatur residents are required to immediately:
- Inform local law enforcement about any accident resulting in greater than $500 of vehicle and/or property damage
- A serious injury to anyone involved
- A fatality
Even if these conditions do not apply, O.C.G.A. §40-6-270 requires all drivers involved in an accident to stop immediately at the scene and share personal information with each other, including their names, addresses, and vehicle registration numbers.
If someone is hurt in a car accident in Decatur, anyone able to do so must provide “reasonable assistance” to them and ensure they receive prompt medical attention. Depending on the circumstances, this may entail calling an ambulance, performing first aid if qualified to do so, or in extreme cases, even driving that person to the hospital themselves.
Why is Gathering Evidence Crucial for Proving Negligence?
Legal action may be not the first thing on the mind of someone involved in a serious car crash, but the sooner they keep it in mind, the better off their eventual case is likely to be. In the moments immediately following a wreck, one of the most important things a potential plaintiff can do to strengthen a possible case is collect as much evidence at the scene as possible.
Like the requirement to provide reasonable assistance to injured people, the way this process plays out may vary depending on the situation. Taking photos and videos of where the accident occurred should be a priority, and it may also be worthwhile to save damaged items, retain key information about the other people and vehicles involved, and collect contact information from nearby witnesses.
How Should Victims Communicate with Insurance Companies?
It is important to clarify that while accident victims are usually required by their policies to notify their insurance carriers that an accident occurred, this initial Notice of Occurrence does not start a civil case or represent an admission of fault. That being said, accident victims should continue to be careful about what they say to both their own insurance representatives and those of other involved parties. Given the damage that one careless statement can potentially do to an argument of legal negligence, one of the best steps to take after a Decatur car accident case is—in this particular respect—not doing or saying anything at all.
Taking the Last Crucial Step of Retaining an Attorney for a Decatur Car Crash Case
All the steps recommended above are crucial for accident victims to follow, but for the most part they only represent the things that people involved in car crashes are legally required to do. If you want to maximize your chances of recovery in a Decatur car accident case, hiring a skilled lawyer is the most important step to take.
Once retained, a dedicated attorney could help you collect and preserve evidence of fault, work to contest any allegations of fault made against you, and ensure your case seeks compensation for every one of your injuries and losses. To get started on your case, call today to schedule a consultation.