Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | March 10, 2021
If you have been involved in a collision that someone else caused, you can seek financial recovery for your medical expenses, property damage, and missed wages. In these cases, a car accident attorney can help you secure compensation from the other party’s insurance provider.
But what happens if you are at fault for a car accident? Perhaps you were distracted by a cell phone or another electronic device, or maybe you were speeding or drowsy…if you were responsible for a car accident, you may be feeling scared and overwhelmed.
There’s good news, though. A skilled car accident lawyer may be able to help you, even if you believe you caused your collision. Scheduling a consultation with an accomplished legal professional can help you secure the best possible outcome in your case.
Steps To Take if You Believe You Caused an Accident
If you believe you were responsible for a collision, try to stay calm. There are a number of steps to take in the moments after a traffic accident, no matter who was at fault.
You should never leave the scene of the crash before the authorities arrive. Especially if you believe you bear some of the blame for the collision, you could face criminal charges and significant fines if you choose to flee the scene. Violating the law by leaving the scene of an accident prematurely will always result in a worse outcome.
Next, contact medical professionals if anyone requires immediate treatment after the crash. If there is significant property damage (estimated to be more than $500), you should call the police or 9-1-1 to report the accident. Even if the collision is very minor, it is important to trade contact information with the other drivers and involved parties.
Interactions With Other Drivers After an Accident
Before the police arrive, keep conversations to a minimum. If the other driver behaves in an aggressive or angry way, do your best to stay calm and de-escalate the situation. Never admit fault or apologize in any way.
If you believe you are at fault for the accident, you may feel pressure to start saying you are sorry. Be careful. Never make any comments that could be construed as accepting blame for the crash. Be polite but say as little as possible.
Following a collision, you should never:
- Mention what you were doing before the accident
- Discuss what you believe led to the incident
- Talk about who you believe caused the crash and why
- Apologize for anything or imply that you bear responsibility
- Question the other driver about whether they may be to blame
Once you have attended to anyone who is hurt and traded contact information with the other drivers, there is no need for further conversation. Wait patiently until the police or medical professionals arrive.
When the police arrive, provide them with your contact information and a basic statement. Never provide statements or make comments to suggest you are responsible for the crash. For instance, never include details like, “I was very drowsy and hit the other car.”
Collecting Evidence About the Collision
After you have provided your contact information to the other driver and your basic statement to the police, you should collect evidence from the scene of the crash. Documenting the circumstances of the accident can be incredibly useful in your case, especially if the evidence suggests that the other driver shared blame for the collision.
If you are able to, collect the following types of evidence:
- Names, phone numbers, and other contact information from all involved parties, including the other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians
- Names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the accident or captured it from their phones
- Documentation of the location of any security or CCTV cameras that might have filmed the collision
- Pictures or videos of the location of the crash, resulting property damage, and any other factors that might be relevant
Once you have collected evidence, it is important to contact a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible. Consulting with a legal professional is crucial, even if you believe (or know) that you are responsible for the collision.
Georgia’s Modified Comparative Fault Rule
You might be wondering why you should contact an attorney if you believe that you bear responsibility for your accident. The answer is that you may be eligible for financial recovery even if you are partially to blame for your collision.
Georgia is one of the states in which automobile accident claims operate under a modified comparative fault rule. This means that any party who is found to be less than 50% responsible for an accident has the right to seek financial compensation for the damages associated with their collision.
For example, suppose you were determined to be 20% responsible for your traffic accident and you sustained $10,000 in damages. In this case, your recovery would be reduced by 20%. You would be able to recover no more than $8,000 or 80% of the damages.
In other words, more than one party may be liable for the damages from your crash. The modified comparative fault rule makes the collection of evidence incredibly important. With the help of a legal professional, you may be able to secure the financial recovery you need from the other driver’s insurance provider.
Even if you believe you are entirely at fault in the moments after your collision, you might be wrong. Never say anything to accept the blame for an accident until you speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.
You should not face the financial burdens from your accident on your own. The compensation from a settlement or verdict can help you cover the costs of medical bills, missed wages, and property damage.
Follow the steps mentioned above and consult with a qualified attorney. This will give you the best chance of financially recovering from your collision.