After a car accident, you should exchange names, addresses, license plate numbers and driver’s license numbers with anyone else who was involved. You should also give everyone your insurance information.
Exchanging information after an accident helps your insurance company during the claims process. You are not giving up any rights by providing this information—in fact, Georgia law requires it. One easy way to record other drivers’ information is to use your cell phone camera to take pictures of license plates, driver’s licenses and insurance cards. Also make a note of the make and model of all involved cars.
What should I say to the other drivers after an accident?
Never say you are sorry or that the accident was your fault. This is true even if other people were hurt and you are 100% sure you are to blame. The reason for this is simple: accident victims are not very good at understanding how an accident happened or at judging fault.
Right after the accident, you are likely in shock and thinking of all the ways you might have prevented it. But if you tell police and other drivers you are to blame, you may have a hard time recovering money to pay for your injuries—even if the accident really wasn’t your fault at all. Let the insurance companies and your lawyer worry about who caused the accident.
Here are some other guidelines:
- Don’t talk about how the accident happened. Focus your conversations on making sure other drivers are ok, exchanging insurance and drivers’ license information and moving the vehicles to a safe place if possible.
- Don’t chat with drivers and witnesses. Anything you say may be reported to an insurance company that may use your statements as an excuse to deny your claim. The less you say, the better.
- Stay calm, even if the other driver tries to pick a fight with you. You don’t want to look like an aggressive hothead when the police arrive, and many people say things in anger that they don’t mean.
- Make a mental note of anything the other driver tells you, and write it down as soon as you have a chance.
Are there other things I should do at the accident scene?
If you are able, call 911 and then check on the other people involved. Cooperate with police when they arrive at the scene. You can also talk to any bystanders or witnesses. Find out if they saw the accident or the events leading up to it, and get their contact.
When should I call my insurance company?
Call your insurance company soon after an accident. It’s usually best to wait until you are home and feeling calm and collected, even if that means you don’t call until the next day.
What should I tell the other driver’s insurance company?
After the accident, you may get a call from an adjuster at the other driver’s insurance company. Tell them when and where the accident occurred, how many cars were involved, and where they impacted each other. Do not guess at the reason for the accident and never say anything that might suggest you are at fault. Do not say “I’m sorry.”
If the insurance adjuster wants to record what you say, say no. It’s not required under Georgia law, and it can only hurt you. Insurance adjusters are trained to ask questions that will trip you up and get you to say things they can use to minimize your injuries or deny your claim. Only give a recorded statement if your lawyer recommends it.
Insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying your claim. Don’t give them ammunition. Instead, schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer who can tell you if you have a good case, advise you on dealing with insurance companies, and handle the negotiation or a car accident law suit in Atlanta for you.
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