1. BE INSURED.
The first defense to any auto accident is ensuring that you are adequately insured. Under Georgia's 25/50/25 rule, you are required to carry the following minimum policy coverage for your vehicle:
- Bodily injury liability per person: $25,000
- Bodily injury liability per accident: $50,000
- Property damage coverage per accident: $25,000
Keep in mind that the Department of Revenue can suspend your vehicle registration if you fail to maintain insurance on your vehicle for ten days or more.
2. IF YOU STAY READY, YOU NEVER HAVE TO GET READY.
Car accidents and crashes come in all shapes and sizes. Preparedness can save your life or someone else's! You can protect yourself and your family by keeping a well-equipped first aid kit in the car and investing in emergency flame lights just in case you are involved in an accident at night or an area where cellular service is not strong. Keep spare shoes and clothing as well if you are involved in an accident in inclement weather.
3. CALL 911.
Time is of the essence in car accidents. If you can, pick up the phone and dial 9-1-1 as soon as possible. Be sure to advise the operator of the following details:
- Location: be as specific as possible. Look for landmarks, highway markers, and street names;
- Number of occupants in your vehicle and the number of cars involved;
- Assess your mental and physical health as well as your passengers and alert the operator that an ambulance is needed for any injuries.
After contacting 9-1-1, be sure to exchange information with the other driver. If you can do so safely, jot down their tag number, name, and number. In the event of a hit-and-run accident, snap a photo or video of the vehicle leaving the scene and notate businesses nearby the accident. Also, try your best to note the tag number and description of the car for the police.
4. SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY ALWAYS.
Do not exit your vehicle or attempt to move your car if it is not safe for you to do so. Do not approach other drivers involved in the accident if they appear irate or angry. Do not resort to self-help if other drivers, passengers, or witnesses approach your vehicle to engage in confrontation. Simply detail this behavior to the 9-1-1 operator and remain in your vehicle or at a safe distance. If witnesses are helpful and nonconfrontational get their name and contact information. They may be able to provide details about the accident that are helpful later on, but they may not be willing to wait for police to arrive.
In the event of a fire, exit the vehicle quickly and safely and stay at a safe distance away from the vehicle and be sure to inform 9-1-1 if you smell gasoline or burning.
Lastly, always allow on-site emergency medics to assess you. Injuries can be physical or cognitive. If you do not need emergency care or need to be transported to a hospital, be sure to follow up with your healthcare provider immediately.
5. TAKE PICTURES
Later on when the dust has settled, you will be asked several times how the accident occurred and if you suffered any injuries in the collision. It will help to have pictures to of the damage to your vehicle and to any other vehicles involved. If you can do so safely, take as many pictures at the scene as possible. Don't stop at taking pictures of the damaged portions of the vehicles involved, take pictures of the whole vehicle. You may capture something relevant in the photos, though it may not seem important at that time.
Pictures of any visible injuries you suffer in the collision will also be helpful. Bruising, cuts, abrasions or lacerations to your body or your passengers will be helpful in determining how the accident occurred and be proof of the severity of the injuries you suffered. Take pictures and email them to yourself so you have a backup copy available that you can access at any time.
6. CALL SEARS LAW
With rising premium costs, it is tempting not to file a claim with your insurance company. However, rising insurance costs are not the only risk with auto accidents. Many insurance contracts have reporting requirements, and you may need to pursue civil action to recover personal injury or property damages suffered in an auto accident. Call Sears Law as soon as possible and let us guide you through the reporting process and protect you! We have the experience, skill, and tenacity to take on big insurance companies and negligent parties to maximize your compensation in an auto accident.