Whether you were a driver, passenger, bicyclist, motorcyclist or pedestrian involved in an auto accident in Georgia, what you do immediately following the crash can have a significant impact on your ability to obtain compensation for the injuries you sustain. These accidents are traumatic and unanticipated incidents. People generally do not plan ahead for these events. Those who suffer injuries are not focused on the most efficient way to preserve evidence or their rights. If anything, they’re mostly focused on getting their lives back to normal. This usually involves seeing doctors and attempting to get their automobile looking the way it did prior to the accident.
One important aspect of any auto accident claim is the Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Report, completed by the investigating police officer. The benefits of this Accident Report are only realized if the police are notified of the collision so that they can interview those on the scene and examine the vehicles and other physical evidence. Such evidence may include injuries, vehicle damage, skids on the roadway and more. Driver’s often forego calling the police and simply exchange insurance and driver's license information to save time. Unfortunately, doing so may cost injured parties tremendously. Not only does the absence of an accident report harm their case with regard to fault, but leaving the scene, injured, without immediately seeking treatment can harm their auto accident lawsuit with regard to damages as well.
While the report itself is inadmissible, it is useful as a basic starting point in determining liability for a crash and can help preserve important evidence. Georgia Accident Reports include a description of the accident based on witness statements, the position of the vehicles, body damage to the vehicles and, sometimes even pictures. Most reports include “contributing factors” which, in the officer’s opinion, caused or led to the accident. This opinion, generally, will be based on which driver violated some uniform rule of the roads of Georgia. At trial, the officer may refer to these contributing factors during his testimony.
While the officer's opinion can be helpful when negotiating with the other driver's insurance company, a good personal injury lawyer can demonstrate that the officer is mistaken or only partially correct regarding these contributing factors. As such, even if you were cited with a violation of the Georgia traffic code, that does not mean the other driver was not at fault. The facts surrounding your accident are often susceptible to multiple interpretations, and witness accounts often vary and conflict. For example, both parties may claim they had the green light after a collision in the intersection. The officer may cite one driver, over the other, just due to police department policy necessitating the need to cite someone following an accident. These “who ran the red light” cases often end up litigated and can hinge on the slightest conflict in the evidence as to who was ultimately at fault.
It is vitally important that, if you were cited with a ticket for an accident, and you do not feel you were at fault, you should consult with an auto accident attorney immediately and preferably one skilled in handling traffic offenses as well. If you plead guilty to the citation which was issued, it can and will be used against you in any personal injury case against the other driver. Hiring a personal injury lawyer who doubles as a traffic offense attorney may be the most important decision you make toward preserving your rights.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an auto accident of any kind, please visit my website at http://www.carnellfirm.com. Contact me with your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call me at 770-729-4809.