According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273, you are legally obligated to report an auto accident to 911 or the nearest police department, county sheriff, or state patrol if the following conditions apply to the crash:
- Someone sustained an injury or died in the accident
- The property damage likely exceeds $500
The locality where the crash happened may also require accident reports, so you could consider having a car accident lawyer check the local laws after the collision. Here are some other considerations when reporting accidents in Georgia.
Insurance Companies Can Require Accident Reports
Georgia’s liability auto insurance requirements allow crash victims to file claims against the liable driver’s insurer to recoup their injury and property damage expenses. As such, the auto insurance provider may require motorists to provide accident reports.
Policyholders might hesitate to give these reports as they think it could increase their insurance premiums. However, it would be best to inform your insurer of the crash sooner than later. It will help them make informed decisions and offers when reviewing accident claims.
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Consequences of Failing to Report Auto Accidents
Leaving the crash scene without reporting the accident could get you charged with a hit and run violation in Georgia—especially if the other party suffered injuries or property damage. Depending on the number of previous hit and run violations you have and how severe the accident is, charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies. Furthermore, you face fines, imprisonment, or both.
Besides its corresponding criminal charges, the other party could use your leaving while not reporting the accident against you. For instance, they could argue that their injuries would not have worsened if you stayed and called the local authorities for assistance. Due to Georgia’s comparative fault law, such an argument could reduce your total recoverable damages.
When Are You Exempt From Reporting Accidents?
The only time you would not need to report the accident would be if the incident were minor, such as:
- You are the only party involved
- No other party suffered property damage
- There are no injuries or fatalities involved
You would not have to stop at the scene and report the accident as soon as possible. However, local laws may still differ from this statewide rule. Therefore, it would be best to check with the local law enforcement agency to avoid accidentally violating their regulations.
Additionally, it would be best to inform your insurance provider of any minor accident. For instance, you may have injuries appear later. Then, depending on the other policies you might carry, such as MedPay or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, your insurer could still help shoulder your costs.
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Other Responsibilities After a Georgia Car Accident
Besides reporting your auto accident to the local authorities, Georgia motorists must undertake other duties if they get involved in collisions.
Assisting Injured Parties in the Accident
When someone sustains an injury in an auto collision, the other motorist—if they are still able—is responsible for providing reasonable assistance to the injured party. This aid can include requesting medical assistance from 911 or other qualified personnel or arranging for an ambulance.
Providing Relevant Personal Information to Other Accident Victims
Drivers involved in the accident should provide the following details to all parties:
- Their name, address, and driver’s license number. If the car owner is a different individual, you will need to share their information as well.
- Their auto insurance information. If the driver carries another approved type of financial responsibility, such as being self-insured, they must have proof of it.
- Their vehicle’s license plate number.
Reporting a Damaged Fixture or Structure to the Owner
Suppose you crash and damage a fixture or any structure owned by another party, such as a parked vehicle. In that case, you will be responsible for finding and informing the person or entity in charge of the property—within reasonable means. It would include providing your contact and license details. You may also contact the authorities for assistance in locating the property owner if needed.
Removing Vehicles Involved in the Accident From Public Lanes
If the accident occurs in the middle of the road and the cars can still move, drivers must relocate the vehicles to prevent congestion. It can involve moving to emergency lanes, shoulders, or any other space away from traffic. If the car is inoperable, you might have to arrange for a towing service to remove it.
Get Legal Assistance After Your Car Accident
Filing a report is not the only thing to worry about if you ever get involved in a car accident in Georgia. If you suffered injuries or vehicular damage, you might also have to deal with recovering from financial losses. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers understands your struggle and stands ready to help with the settlement process. We can file your action and fight for the compensation you need to maintain your financial situation.
You can get started today by calling our office or filling out our contact form. We provide 24/7 support, so feel free to discuss your legal concerns with us anytime.