If you are in what seems to be a minor fender bender with no apparent injuries to either party or car, you and the other driver might be tempted to consider yourselves lucky and drive home. Do not give in to this temptation. Instead, take on-the-scene steps to protect yourself from potential hidden accident-related problems.
Then, consult with a car accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates. Should you discover the need for compensation later, your lawyer will help you fight to get the settlement you deserve.
Should I Call the Police Even if There Is No Damage?
Most cities in Georgia legally require drivers to call 911 following even minor car accidents. If your city does not have this requirement, your insurance company probably does. While upholding laws and regulations is your duty, filing a report also protects you should you later realize the accident was not as minor as it initially seemed.
In failing to make a police report, you make it much more challenging to take a claim to court should you discover you have been injured and need to seek compensation. When the police arrive at the scene, they will complete an accident report, fulfilling all legal reporting duties. However, Georgia’s Department of Driver’s Services recommends each involved driver complete the Personal Report of Accident form to record essential accident information.
The information included will help your attorney build a case should you need to pursue a settlement.
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Do I Need to Exchange Information with the Other Driver?
Georgia law also requires drivers to exchange contact and insurance information with each other following an accident. It is best to keep your interaction brief. Only provide the basic and necessary information.
Do not offer apologies or other statements that could later be used as admissions of fault.
What Other Information Should I Collect?
Take photos of each car, ensuring you have clear images of all parts of each vehicle. Take photos of the accident scene and environment, capturing the road, weather, and any other conditions that may have contributed to the crash. If there are witnesses present, collect contact information.
All this evidence will be valuable to your car accident attorney should you need to file a claim.
Do I Need to Contact My Insurance Company?
You should report the accident to your insurance company. Once again, keep your comments brief and factual. If further communication with your insurance company is required, leave those discussions to your car accident lawyer.
Should I Follow Up with a Doctor?
Getting prompt medical attention is essential to protecting your health and your potential injury claim. Delayed onset of injury symptoms is not unusual following a car accident because of the rush of adrenaline that can mask pain or the nature of the injuries themselves. Sometimes, you do not realize you have an injury until you put stress on the affected part of your body.
Crash tests and computer simulations predict the injuries specific types of accidents cause, including injuries with delayed effects. Common injuries with delayed onset include:
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Shoulder, neck, or back pain
- Brain injury
- Nerve damage
What Could Happen if I do Not Seek Medical Attention Right Away?
By delaying medical attention, you risk worsening your injury. You also create the opportunity for the at-fault party to argue your injury did not result from the accident. They may claim your condition resulted from your delay in seeking immediate treatment for what started as a minor injury.
They may also argue that since time has gone by, there is no way to prove your pain is not from regular “wear and tear.”
Why Would I Need Compensation After an Accident with No Damage?
Just because you do not see or feel any immediate damage does not mean you have not sustained injury. Even if your car is intact, you may not be, and those injuries can leave you with chronic pain, mobility limitations, cognitive deficiencies, and other disabilities. The effects of the injuries may prevent you from working, engaging in activities you enjoy, or moving through your daily life efficiently.
Can an Accident Cause Emotional Trauma?
Accidents are jarring and unfortunately, they often leave the parties involved with emotional or psychological anguish. Some victims find themselves unable to drive any longer, which affects their daily schedules as they must find alternative transportation to get to work or get their kids to school. The inability to drive also reduces independence and overall quality of life.
What Damages Can I Recover?
After reviewing your medical records, prognosis lost work time and/or employment changes, and the emotional effects of the accident, your car accident lawyer will calculate a settlement amount providing adequate compensation for your losses.
Most likely, your lawyer will pursue recovery of:
- Medical expenses and coverage for future accident-related medical needs
- Wages lost to missed time at work and for potential lost earnings
- Losses incurred by the emotional trauma of your accident
- Any additional expenses caused by the effects of your accident
What Should I Say if I Am Offered a Settlement?
Do not accept a settlement without first speaking with a lawyer. The at-fault party’s insurance company may make you an offer claiming it is more than fair and the most you can expect. Most of the time, these initial offers are far less than you deserve.
By securing a lawyer’s help as soon as possible after your accident, you will have a representative who knows what your case is worth. Your attorney will handle all negotiations on your behalf and give you sound advice when it comes to rejecting or accepting offers.
Cover Yourself, and Contact John Foy & Associates Today
Though your car may escape damage in a seemingly minor accident, you may still experience life-altering physical and emotional effects that warrant compensation. Contact a car accident lawyer from John Foy & Associates to protect yourself from bearing the cost of injuries that may seem minor but could bring significant financial consequences. Your case consultation is free and you do not pay us until we deliver a settlement to you.