First Steps after a Georgia Car Accident; Thoughts from the Lawyer

In the first few hours after a car accident in Georgia, it is normal to be confused and anxious. For people facing injuries, they can spend hours in the emergency worrying over whether the bill will be paid. If the crash was serious, drivers often don’t get the contact information for the other driver’s insurance company. Even if you are just dealing with how to get your car fixed, the process can be daunting. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with car accidents so let’s take it step by step.


Was the crash your fault?

If so, step one is straightforward. If you have collision coverage then call your own insurance company and they will deal with the repair or replacement of your car, less your deductible. Although it may seem obvious, some people ask whether thy can make an injury claim if they were at fault… ahhh noooo. If you have medical payments insurance in Georgia, that will pick up your medical bills but there is no claim for pain and suffering or the like against yourself, which makes sense right?

Alright, let us assume that the crash was caused by the other driver and move onto the next step.

1) Were you hurt in the car accident?

If you were not hurt in the car accident, consider yourself fortunate and resign yourself to the fact that the process is just one of those headaches in life that you have to put up with.

If you were hurt in the car accident, click on “steps to take if you were hurt in a car accident in Georgia” because it is a whole different ball of wax, otherwise, keep reading.

2) Did you get the other driver’s car insurance information?

Don’t panic if you did not. It’s is pretty common these days for the police officer to tell you to get the information off of the police report when it is ready.

How do I get the Georgia police report?

Typically they will be ready in 2-3 business days. The officer should give you a car with the incident report number and you just drop by the police station and pick it up. More and more Georgia jurisdictions are signing up with www.buycrash.com though so it is worth taking a look online there.

You are not going to be able to take affirmative action until you know the name of the other insurance company unless you chose to submit the claim to your own insurance company
In the meantime, you just have to be patient.

When it comes to the car repair, if liability is clear, it typically takes 2-3 days after the at fault insurance company learns of the crash to send out an adjuster to write an estimate. If the adjuster tells you it is an initial estimate and to take it to the repair shop where further costs may be estimated. This is normal even though it may make you nervous.

Another thing that may make you nervous is the adjusters request that you sign over a power of attorney so they can transfer the title to the car if it is being totaled out. This too is totally normal, so take deep breath, read it and if it is about title to the car only, then sign it.

Finally, we are frequently are asked whether to turn your car damage claim in under your own collision coverage or under the other driver’s insurance coverage. If the crash was the other guys fault, then the choice is up to you. Downside of your own insurance is that you will have a deductible. You may get it back months down the road once your insurance company goes after the at fault driver’s insurance in inter-comoany arbitration.

Upside is that you may have a smoother negotiation and if you have rental coverage, a rental car can be approved immediately.