After a car accident in Georgia, exchange information with the other drivers, and do as much as you can to document what happened. This might include taking photos or video of the accident scene and talking to witnesses and police. If you were injured, see a doctor as soon as you can.
If you make an insurance claim, the insurance company will use evidence about the way the accident occurred to determine which driver was at fault and whose insurance company must pay. The evidence you gather at the scene can help you and your lawyer make a stronger case in insurance company negotiations or in a lawsuit, and that can mean you receive much more money than you otherwise would.
Do I need to exchange information with the other driver in Georgia?
Yes. Georgia’s driver’s manual advises drivers to give their names, addresses, license plate numbers and drivers’ license numbers to everyone involved in the accident. You should be sure to get this information from the other driver, as well as information about the other driver’s car insurance.
Should I call the police and let them collect evidence?
Georgia law requires you to call the police if anyone is injured or if there is property damage of more than $500. The officer who responds to the call will talk to witnesses, look at the accident scene, and prepare a report that provides the officer’s view of what happened. The police report is an essential part of most insurance claims.
However, you should not assume that the police officer will investigate the accident fully or collect all evidence. In some situations, a hazard or situation that caused the accident will have disappeared by the time the officer arrived. Witnesses may have left the scene. If you are not badly injured, it is always a good idea to collect some evidence on your own.
What kind of evidence is useful in a car accident claim?
The general rule is that you want to gather any type of evidence that can show how the accident happened and who is at fault. Most of the time, a driver is at fault because they did something careless, or “negligent,” such as breaking a traffic law, driving in an unsafe manner, or driving while intoxicated. Anything that provides evidence of the other driver’s fault can help your claim. Here are some suggestions.
- Use your camera. Take photos or video of the damage to the vehicles. Photograph the accident scene from several different angles. Get pictures of any hazards or conditions—such as icy roads—that were a factor in the accident. Take pictures of the roadway behind the other car, because the presence or absence of skid marks can be a telltale piece of evidence.
- Talk to as many people as possible at the scene. Find out if anyone saw the accident, and what they have to say. Also look for people who observed the other driver’s problem behavior prior to the accident – such as speeding down the highway and weaving in and out of traffic. Get their names, phone numbers and email addresses.
- Video record the other driver. if you notice suspicious or overly aggressive behavior. For example, a drunk driver may empty out cans. A driver who was texting might attempt to delete evidence from a cell phone. A driver may try to pick a fight with you. Try to quietly record this behavior—it may be useful later.
Evidence about the way the accident happened is only one part of a car accident injury claim. You will also have to show that you were injured in the accident. The best way to begin building evidence of your injuries is to see a doctor and get a diagnosis right away. Then you can schedule a consultation with a car accident lawyer who can use the evidence you have collected to bolster your case and get you the most money possible.
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