January 24, 2019
What should I do immediately after a wreck?
You were driving down the road. Or perhaps you were sitting still in traffic. And suddenly, through no fault of your own, another vehicle barrels into yours. What should you do in the immediate aftermath?
The first obvious piece of advice is that you should do whatever is best for your health, whether that is to stay still, seek help, or go to a hospital.
That said, there are a number of steps you can take immediately following a collision that could preserve or strengthen your legal claim against the driver who hit you. If you cannot do these things yourself due to injury, ask a family member or friend to do them for you, if possible.
- Call the police. If the wreck is bad enough that you will need to bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance, then you should call the police if for no other reason than to have corroboration that the wreck actually took place.
- Identify the at-fault driver. Not only should you ask the driver for his or her name and contact information, you should take a picture of the license plate. If the at-fault driver drives away (a hit-and-run scenario), having the license plate will help police identify the suspect.
- Identify witnesses. If you see other people watching you as you emerge from the wreckage, get their names and contact information. It is common for drivers in a two-vehicle collision to blame each other for the wreck. Witnesses to the collision and its immediate aftermath can be the difference between having a strong case against the at-fault driver and having no case at all.
- Take photos of the scene. You should take photos of the damage to your vehicle, to the at-fault vehicle, and to any other vehicles involved in the collision. Photos of the property damage will help illustrate how violent the collision was. If any property at the scene other than vehicles was damaged, take photos of that as well. Take photos from various distances to help illustrate the full scope of the wreck.
- Take photos of injuries. Take close-up photos and photos from several feet away of any scrapes, bruises, blood, or other injuries on your body and on anyone else that is willing to be photographed. It is one thing to *tell* a jury that you were bleeding. It is another for the jury to *see* a photo of the actual blood on your body. Continue to take photos over the next few days and weeks as the injuries develop (e.g. bruises) and heal.
- Do not post anything about the collision on social media. In today’s society, many people feel compelled to post all of their major life events on social media. However, in posting on social media, you are making statements and posting images that could be used in a trial. There is no benefit to you from posting your evidence online, but it could hurt you.
- Do not talk to the at-fault driver’s insurance company about how the wreck took place or your bodily injuries. Within 48 hours of the collision, it is likely that you will receive a call from the insurance company representing the at-fault driver. In Georgia, it is lawful for them (or anyone for that matter) to not only record their conversation with you, but to do so without your permission. It is fine for you to discuss the damage to your vehicle. You will need to have that conversation with them in order to receive compensation for your vehicle’s damage. However, you should not discuss how the wreck took place or your bodily injuries.
Following these simple steps can go a long way toward helping you receive the financial compensation you deserve for a wreck that wasn’t your fault. If you or someone you know has been injured in an automobile collision, call the DeWoskin Law Firm at 404-987-0026.