What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
If you’re seriously injured in a car accident, you know that you shouldn’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. But, what should you do if there wasn’t much damage to your vehicle and you’re feeling sore, but you’re not in very much pain? Perhaps, the at fault driver has admitted that he was wrong and he’s offered to pay for the property damage to your vehicle. Should you still call 9-1-1?
Yes, you should absolutely call 9-1-1. Even if you don’t think that you need an ambulance, you should still call 9-1-1 so that they dispatch a police officer to investigate the collision and prepare an accident report. The police officer’s accident report is a very important piece of evidence that you’re going to need in order for the insurance company to process your claim – even if you initially think that you’re only going to make a property damage claim.
We urge you to contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. In most cases, your attorney will need to review the police report before agreeing to represent you. The police report contains important information about how the collision occurred, where the collision occurred, how many people were involved in the collision, how to locate the at fault driver, and whether the at fault driver was insured.
If you haven’t yet obtained a copy of the police report, the attorneys at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC will order a copy of it and discuss all of the officer’s findings with you. Then, we will prepare a strategy to help you recover fair compensation for your losses.
What Do I Do If The At Fault Driver Suggests That We Don’t Call The Police?
If the at fault driver suggests that you shouldn’t call 9-1-1, that is a major warning sign. The driver is not making that suggestion to save you from trouble. He is making that suggestion to save himself from trouble.
If the at fault driver doesn’t want the police to show up, it may mean that there is a warrant out for his arrest. He might be driving on a suspended license. He might be driving while intoxicated. If you don’t call the police officer, none of that information will be evaluated. The presence of any one of those factors could significantly enhance the value of your case.
On the rare occasion that the at fault driver is making that suggestion to you in good faith, it’s still not a good idea to avoid calling the police. Why? Because if you do decide to file an insurance claim, you don’t have most of the documentation that you need to prove your claim.
Every few weeks, we get a call from a potential client that goes like this:
“Hello, I need to hire an attorney. I was involved in a car accident a few months ago. The collision impact was severe, but there wasn’t much damage to my vehicle or the other vehicle. Right after the collision, I felt sore, but I wasn’t in much pain. The driver of the vehicle that hit my vehicle said that he was sorry for causing the wreck. He and I were both in a hurry to get to work. He suggested that we just exchange insurance information so that we didn’t have to wait for the cop and we could each get to work on time. I thought that was a good idea, so I agreed. I set up an insurance claim using the information that he gave me. Initially, I just planned to get my vehicle’s property damage fixed. The repair would probably only cost a couple hundred dollars. But, a few weeks later, I started to have really bad back pain. I’ve been going to an orthopedic doctor ever since. After the doctor reviewed my MRI films, he said that I need back surgery. I told the at fault driver’s insurance carrier that I now planned to ask for money for my surgery and they told me that they’re denying liability. What do I do?”
That potential client might still be able to recover full compensation for his losses, but it will be an uphill battle. If there wasn’t an independent eyewitness, the insurance company will contend that it’s a “he said/she said” case where no one can tell who is telling the truth and who isn’t telling the truth. If no one else heard the at fault driver accept fault, he knows that he can usually change his story without repercussions.
If the at fault driver didn’t provide his correct insurance information and our client has to pursue the claim through his own insurance carrier, his carrier might contend that he staged the accident if he can’t identify the other vehicle and there is relatively little property damage.
All that the potential client had to do was take 10 seconds to dial 9-1-1 and request that they dispatch a police officer. The police officer would have collected the at fault driver’s insurance information, the at fault driver’s contact information, he might have administered a breathalyzer exam or field sobriety test to the at fault driver, he might have taken photos of the vehicles, he might have recorded a statement from the at fault driver that could be used against that driver later on if he denied liability, and the officer might have issued one or more traffic citations against the at fault driver. All of that information would have been very useful once that potential client filed an insurance claim.
Let that potential client’s mistake be a lesson to you. Make the call.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help
Sometimes, our potential clients do call 9-1-1, but the at fault driver leaves the collision scene before the police officer arrives. That’s unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world. For instance, if our client made note of the at fault driver’s license plate, the police officer can usually track down the vehicle and arrest the driver. We will work hand in hand with the police officer to help him locate the at fault driver.
Even if the at fault driver cannot be located, if you purchased uninsured motorist coverage, we can help you pursue a claim for compensation through your own insurance carrier. That is considered a “no fault” claim, meaning that your insurer cannot penalize you by raising your insurance premiums if you make that claim.
If you have any questions about your legal options following a car accident, you should contact our legal team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC. Our attorneys have successfully represented hundreds of clients that were once in your shoes. We will listen to your story, help you find your voice, and recover the compensation that you deserve.
Why You Should Seek Medical Treatment After a Car Accident
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed after you are injured in an accident. However, it’s critical to seek emergency medical treatment after an accident. Even if you’re only experiencing mild pain, you may have suffered injuries that are far more serious than you think. That’s why it is essential to always seek medical treatment from the emergency room or an urgent care center as soon as possible in the aftermath of an auto collision or other serious accident.
Once your healthcare provider stabilizes your injuries, you should make an appointment to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer. At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, our skilled Atlanta auto accident lawyers can provide more information about your options and how you may recover compensation, so please call 404-419-6674 or submit the details through our online form to schedule free, initial consultation.
Delays Could Jeopardize Your Health
Minor wounds, including cuts, scrapes, and bruises, will on their own. However, more severe injuries require medical treatment immediately after an accident. If you delay medical treatment, you might suffer the following consequences:
- A longer recovery period;
- Aggravation of the injury;
- A higher chance of reinjury, because you’re not properly restricting your daily activities and workload; or,
- Delays in getting referrals to medical specialists that can help the healing process.
Postponing Medical Attention Gives Insurers Reason to Deny Your Claim
Whether you were injured in a car accident as a result of another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to recover compensation for your injuries from the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. Insurers only seek to protect their own bottom line — they never have your best interests in mind. Adjusters always look out for reasons to reject your claim or offer a low settlement amount.
The adjuster might assert that your injuries couldn’t have been serious; otherwise, you would have sought immediate attention. Your claim will be much stronger if you visit a healthcare provider as soon as possible, or at most within 72 hours.
Delays Make It Difficult to Link Your Injuries to the Accident
If you wait to seek medical treatment after an accident, the insurance adjuster will likely challenge whether your injuries were caused by something other than the accident. The insurer might attempt to place blame on a subsequent work-related incident, your physical activities, or other intervening events that occurred after the incident. Don’t delay your medical treatment and give the insurance company that opportunity.
Consult with an Experienced Accident Lawyer Right Away
After an accident, your first step should be to call 9-1-1 and seek emergency medical treatment. Your second step should be to retain a skilled attorney. You will face numerous challenges when you file a claim with an insurance company. The process is even more difficult if the insurance company forces you to file a lawsuit. If you were hurt in any type of serious accident and need legal assistance, please call 404-419-6674 to reach Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC in Atlanta, GA. We can schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your circumstances. We also handle personal injury cases on a contingency basis, which means that there will be no up-front costs and we only receive payment when we win your case.