Driving in Atlanta can mean views of a city skyline or taking in historic architecture. But when our curvy, tree-lined streets combine with inclement weather or just plain bad luck, car accidents can ensue. In fact, the Georgia Department of Transportation shows our state records approximately 700,000 crashes per year as of 2008.
If you’re involved in a car accident, knowing the steps to take afterward is essential to your safety and physical (not to mention financial) well-being. Read on for tips on how to respond in the event of a car accident and keep this response checklist handy in your car.
Health and Safety First
Making sure everyone is safe and sound should be your priority in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Conduct a quick health check to ensure everyone is all right, keeping in mind that shock may prevent some symptoms from emerging immediately. If you’re unsure about anyone’s health, call 911 emergency responders immediately.
If everyone is all right, the Atlanta Police Department recommends that you get out of the way of oncoming traffic as soon as possible. If the accident was relatively minor and your car is still in driving condition, move it onto the road-side and encourage the parties involved to wait for responders on the sidewalk or otherwise away from traffic. Do not attempt to move any obviously injured people.
Talk with Police and Exchange Information
After dialing 911, the APD urges you to wait patiently for the police to arrive in order to have an official accident report filed. Keep in mind that a copy of the report can help you when filing an insurance claim.
Provide all pertinent accident details to the police officer at the scene. Limit discussion of the crash (and who may have been at fault) with all involved parties. Discuss details only with police and your insurance representative. In fact, if you’re otherwise safe and have time, you should call your insurer immediately, as they can provide crash guidance and support, in addition to helping file your claim.
You should also exchange essential information with other drivers involved in the crash, including:
You may also wish to collect the names and contact information of any third-party witnesses to the accident.
To obtain an accident report, call the APD Central Records Unit at (404) 546-7461 or visit the city’s vendor, BuyCrash.com, to purchase a copy of the report online.
After the crash, you may have several questions. You can follow up on your claim directly with your insurer. They can answer questions on getting an estimate for repairs and advise on whether your policy includes provisions for a rental car while yours is in the shop.
If you have a question about your crash report, contact APD Public Affairs at (404) 546-2530.
While car crashes are unfortunate events, being prepared, staying calm and knowing how to respond can help reduce some of the frustration.