What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, our team of trial attorneys has helped individuals and families recover after a serious auto accident. Below, we've compiled some of the more frequently-asked questions that our clients have had over the years to help you understand the next steps you should take after a motor vehicle collision.
If you have additional questions, please contact our law firm. From our offices in Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia, we handle auto accident cases nationwide. The consultation with an attorney is free.
Q: Should I report the car accident?
A: Yes . If you or someone else has been seriously injured, call 911 and seek medical attention immediately. Whether or not you were seriously injured, you should notify the local police of the collision as soon as possible, so that a report of the accident will be generated and initial evidence gathered before it is destroyed.
Q: What information should I exchange with the other driver(s) involved in the accident?
A: The name and address of the driver and the owner of the vehicle, the driver's license number, the license plate number of the vehicle, and the name of the liability insurance carrier for the vehicle. If the driver's name is different from the insured (check their insurance card), establish the driver's relationship to the insured and write down the name and address of the insured as well.
Q: What evidence should I gather at the scene of the wreck?
A: You should use your cell phone camera, if you have one, to take pictures of all vehicles involved in the collision, including your vehicle, as well as any skid marks and any other evidence of the cause or effects of the wreck. You should also get names, phone numbers, and addresses of any people who witnessed the accident.
Such evidence will likely need to be analyzed by an accident reconstructionist, who will recreate the crash to determine who was at fault and who should pay for any resulting injuries. The crash expert will need to review:
- Skid marks or debris on the road;
- Placement or location of the vehicles after the crash; and
- Witness statements or testimony as to what went wrong leading up to the car accident.
At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, we have the resources to hire the best accident reconstructionists in the country to work on your case and have a track record of obtaining substantial results in car wreck cases.
Q: What do I do about the vehicles and vehicle parts after a car accident?
A: Keep track of the vehicle and all vehicle parts; do not let them be destroyed . It is possible you have a product liability case [insert hyperlink to products liability Q&A]. Often, vehicles or other products contain dangerous defects that can only be spotted by a trained eye. Preserving the evidence is crucial because bringing a product liability case is very difficult if the original product that caused the wreck is not available. In a vehicle or tire case, that means that the first thing that you should do is to preserve the vehicle or tire. Do not let the insurance company, or any other entity, take the vehicle or tire away. In the case of a tire blowout, an investigator should pick up and save the pieces of the tire that remain on the roadway. At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, we have two former law enforcement officers that work as full time investigators for our firm who are experienced at conducting investigations into auto accidents. Consulting a good lawyer as soon as possible is particularly important in product liability cases because they can be very complex and because of the special importance of preserving evidence of the defective product. Click here [insert hyperlink to products liability FAQ] for an FAQ about product liability cases.
Even in non-product liability cases, the vehicle and its parts should be preserved. Examining the actual vehicle and its parts, as well as the scene, eyewitness testimony, and other evidence, helps crash experts determine how the car accident occurred and, if a claim is filed, such evidence will also help a jury determine who was at fault and who should pay for any resulting injuries.
Q: What do I do if I am contacted by an insurance claims adjuster?
A: Under no circumstances should you make any written statements to an insurance claims adjuster related to your claim before speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney. You should also speak to an attorney before signing a settlement agreement or any other documentation related to your claim for coverage for injuries and property damage.
Q: Who can be held responsible for injuring my family or me in a car accident?
A: Certainly an at-fault driver may be held responsible for causing a wreck that results in injury to you, your family, and any other passengers. In addition to the driver, his or her employer and the owner of the car may be financially responsible for your injuries. Possible sources of recovery for your injuries include:
- The at-fault driver or car owner's insurance;
- The at-fault driver's employer's insurance, if applicable; and
- Your own insurance if the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured.
Q: How long do I have to file a lawsuit after the car accident?
A: Personal injury lawsuits that arise from auto accidents in Georgia must be filed within two years of the date of the accident. The statute of limitations varies for other states. You do not need to file a lawsuit the day after a car accident, but you should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure that evidence is preserved and your rights are protected. Contact our law firm today for a consultation.
Q: How much does it cost to speak with an attorney about my options after being injured?
A: Nothing. There is no cost to meet with an experienced Georgia-based personal injury attorney at Butler Wooten & Peak LLP. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation to discuss how the exceptional trial lawyers at our firm can help you fight for the justice and compensation you deserve no matter where your car accident occurred.
At Butler Wooten & Peak LLP, our attorneys have helped individuals across the United States who have been injured because someone else was careless, wasn't paying attention or was driving while impaired, leading to serious auto accidents. From our offices in Georgia, our auto accident attorneys have a nationwide record of getting the best possible results for auto accident victims and their families.
Call 800-213-5343 today or contact our Georgia law offices online to schedule a free consultation.