What to Do After A Car Accident In The Athens and Atlanta Area

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As a Georgia car accident attorney who has handled many car and truck accidents in and around the Atlanta area, I have been asked just about every question one can think of about auto and truck accidents. I thought it might be a good idea to put some of the questions and my thoughts (ie, what I think the “right” answers are) on my blog.

How do I get a copy of the wreck report? In almost every accident, the responding police officer fills out a wreck report. The report will have most, if not all, of the pertinent details regarding your accident. Among the information included in the report is: date, day, time, and place of the accident; lighting and weather conditions at the time of the wreck; usually a diagram of how the wreck happened; and, the identity of any witnesses to the wreck. Importantly, the wreck report will also identify by name and address the drivers and passengers involved in the wreck. Finally, the wreck report will contain crucial insurance information which your lawyer will want as soon as possible. The police agency (ie, Dekalb County Police, Clayton County Police, Georgia State Patrol) who responded to your wreck will usually have a copy of the accident report available within a few days. You should have gotten a case number after your accident. If not, call the appropriate police department and give them your name and date of the wreck. If you retain a lawyer timely, he or she can get the report for you.

The insurance company for the at-fault driver has called me and asked to speak with me, should I? No. You will not be “in good hands” and a nice, British gecko will not be on the other end of the phone. Who will be on the other end of the line is an adjuster who will likely be tape-recording your conversation. The adjuster will try to get you to acknowledge that either you weren’t hurt or you were in some way at fault for the wreck. It is fine to speak with your own insurance company; it is not ok to speak with any other insurance company. The best practice is to retain a qualified injury lawyer before you speak with anyone.

When should I hire a qualified Georgia injury attorney? As soon as possible. Good attorneys can prevent you from making mistakes early in the case, can secure evidence needed to pursue your claim, and can begin talking to witnesses. It is rarely, if ever, a good idea to pursue a serious injury claim without representation.

I had a prior injury to my back and after the wreck it hurts worse. Can I still pursue a claim? Yes. Georgia law provides for compensation for what is known in the law as “aggravation of a pre-existing condition.” For example, many people have bulging or herniated discs. As our backs age, discs manifest wear and tear. Often, people with back problems are either pain-free or rarely suffer symptoms. After a significant car wreck, individuals with already weakened backs may experience a dramatic worsening of the condition and may even require surgery. Georgia law allows for compensation for these types of injuries.

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