If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Georgia and you aren’t obviously injured, you may find yourself feeling shocked and overwhelmed. There’s a lot to do to protect your legal rights, and it can be daunting when you don’t know what to do.
IF YOU HAVE OBVIOUS INJURIES, SEEK EMERGENCY MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY.
Do not delay if you’re experiencing any signs or symptoms of injury, as prompt medical care can be critical in helping to save your life or helping you recover.
At the Scene of the Car Accident
While you’re at the scene of the accident, there are a few steps you’ll want to follow.
- Don’t say anything to the other driver.
- Call the local police to report the accident. In Georgia, any accident that involves an injury or property damage more than $500 must be reported to police. Even a minor dent or ding might cost more than $500 to fix, and you won’t know the full extent of the damage until you have it checked out, so call the police to report the accident even if you think it’s not that serious. You’ll need a police report to make a claim on your insurance.
- Provide your contact information and auto insurance to the officer. Answer their questions honestly, but don’t provide additional information that they don’t ask for. You do not need to provide your contact information and insurance information to the other driver; they can get that information from the police report.
After the Car Accident
After the car accident, there may be hidden damage to your vehicle and your body. Both will need to be examined by a qualified professional, hidden damage can get worse over time.
At the Mechanic
Have your vehicle taken to a qualified mechanic to be looked over, even if it seems like it was just a minor fender-bender. Minor accidents can sometimes knock electrical connections loose, disconnect cables, or mess up your vehicle’s alignment. Over time, these small problems can get worse, so it’s best to get these issues fixed quickly. Make sure to save any estimates or receipts you receive.
At the Doctor
It’s also important to get your body checked out by a trained doctor, even if you think that there’s nothing wrong. Whiplash, concussion, and soft tissue injuries can sometimes crop up days after an accident, but they can cause lasting problems if they’re not addressed.
Because of adrenaline, you may not notice pain or injury right after an accident. Your body produces pain-masking chemicals that help prevent you from noticing what’s wrong. The biggest danger here is that you’ll launch back into your regular routine and fail to notice a potentially serious problem. This can cause additional damage and make it even more difficult to fix the problem, but a check-up from your doctor can spot these problems early.
Because serious problems can happen after an accident, it may be hard for you to tell the difference between a serious problem and normal, expected soreness. It’s best to let your doctor decide what to worry about.
The Legal Issues
If you are injured because of a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to your injuries. But your car accident injury lawyer will need to prove that your injuries were related to the car accident, so a visit to the doctor helps to establish the cause of your injuries.
For example, let’s say that you were involved in a minor fender bender and you felt okay. You decided not to see a doctor. The insurance company agreed to pay for the damage to your car and had you sign something that said that there were no injuries and the only damage was to your vehicle. Since you were feeling okay, you signed it, got your car fixed, and everything was great! But a week later, the pain in your neck was unbearable. When you finally broke down and saw your doctor, he diagnosed you with whiplash, probably caused by that minor car accident.
If something like this has already happened to you, you should still consult an injury lawyer, but it’ll be much more difficult for your attorney to prove that your whiplash was caused by that accident. If you had gone to see a doctor right after the accident, your doctor would have warned you about whiplash and you would’ve known not to ignore that minor pain in your neck. You might have received pain relief earlier, and had a much easier case for compensation for your whiplash injury.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Georgia Trial Attorneys Today
Once you have your car and your body looked at, you will need to consider your legal options. Contact a Georgia personal injury lawyer with Georgia Trial Attorneys at Kirchen & Grant as soon as possible. Our attorneys can help you handle the claims process and resolve your case, making sure that you get everything you’re owed.
At some point after the accident, an insurance company will most likely contact you. This may be your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. It’s best not to talk to the insurance company, even if it’s your own insurer. The insurance companies record every call, and they’ll use anything you say against you as a reason to deny or downgrade your claim. If an insurance company calls, provide them with the contact information for your attorney and let your attorney handle that communication.
You deserve to be made whole after an accident, even if your injuries don’t show up immediately. To make sure that nothing gets missed and that you return to full health and wellness after a traumatic experience, check with your doctor, even if you think that everything’s okay.
If you have any other questions about your rights after a car accident in Georgia, call the experienced lawyers at Georgia Trial Attorneys by calling 833-4TheWin for a free, no-obligation consultation.