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In the aftermath of a car accident, you might be scared and confused about what to do next, especially if you were hurt. You may be facing steep medical bills, lost wages from time missed at work, and expensive repair estimates, as well as emotional and mental distress. You should not have to deal with all this on your own. If someone else was at fault for the accident, they could owe you compensation for these losses and more.
The attorneys at The Melonakos Law Firm want to help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve. We understand how a car accident can disrupt your life. We will work hard to get you the peace of mind and accountability you deserve.
Below, we’ll describe some of the most important steps you can take to protect your health and your options for recovering compensation after a collision in South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia. If you have any questions, please contact our office today for a free consultation with a compassionate, experienced car accident attorney.
Report the accident to law enforcement as soon as possible. This is important for multiple reasons. First, reporting a car accident is typically required by law. For example, in North Carolina, drivers involved in a “reportable crash” have a legal responsibility to alert law enforcement. State law defines a reportable crash as one that results in injury or death to a person or $1,000 or more of property damage. The same is also true in South Carolina. In Georgia, drivers must report an accident resulting in injury or death to a person or $500 of property damage.
Second, the police officer who responds to the accident will prepare a report that could prove valuable to a future insurance claim or personal injury suit. While the specific details of the accident report vary from state to state, they typically include the names of the individuals involved in the crash, the vehicles involved, injuries to persons, damage to cars, and road and weather conditions. Furthermore, police officers can perform tests at the scene if they suspect the other driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and will make an initial determination of the circumstances and cause of the crash.
You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident, whether you are taken to the hospital by an ambulance or see your primary care doctor. Some injuries that are not immediately apparent can be very serious if not treated properly. A trained medical professional can evaluate your condition and diagnose any injuries you sustained.
Furthermore, a treating physician will record your injuries in your medical records, which will, in turn, establish a link between the injuries you suffered and the accident that caused them. It can be difficult to get in to see a doctor quickly after an accident or to know which healthcare providers are the best at providing care for injury victims. We can help you find great providers who care about you and your health.
Exchange pertinent information with the other driver involved in the accident, including their:
You should also write down:
If it is safe enough to do so, collect as much evidence as possible at the scene immediately following the accident, including:
Be careful what you say to the police, other drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses. Do not admit fault or say something that might be construed as admitting fault. For example, do not apologize to anyone for the accident. Unfortunately, an apology offered strictly in sympathy could be interpreted as admitting fault. However, you should check on the other drivers and passengers involved and make sure that they are okay. Answer the police officer’s questions truthfully, but do not speculate about things you do not know to be fact.
You might be surprised by how quickly insurance companies contact you after an accident. You may be caught off guard if you are still recovering from the accident. Some insurance companies will say they are checking on you, but more likely, they want to get you on the record saying something that will undercut your claim so they can save themselves money. They may also pressure you to take a settlement for an amount that is far less than you need and deserve. A common tactic insurance companies use is having accident victims e-sign releases on their phones. Victims often don’t realize that these releases totally end their claims. Do not accept any money unless it’s specifically to pay for your car. If you have any doubt, give us a call and we’ll review any communications or offers you’ve received from the insurance company.
Do not try to negotiate with the insurance company on your own. Instead, tell the insurance company that you will not speak to them until you consult with your lawyer.
Insurance companies may also look at your social media profiles for evidence to use against you. For example, if your Instagram account has photos of you enjoying social or outdoor activities after you said that you suffered physical and emotional injuries, the insurance company could use this to damage your case and credibility. Staying off social media and focusing on your recovery immediately after a car accident is the best way to protect your case.
If you were injured in a car accident in South Carolina, North Carolina, or Georgia, one of your first steps should be to contact a knowledgeable attorney to help you with your case. The Melonakos Law Firm is ready to advocate for you to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys today for a free consultation.