Most of us will be involved in a few car accidents in our lives. They are most likely to be fender benders but accidents with injuries are not uncommon. Many people involved in a car accident in Georgia are unsure about the rules for reporting them.
Most states determine the obligation of drivers to notify the authorities on factors such as the presence of injuries or the cost of the damage to be repaired.
In Georgia, you are required to report an accident when the following factors occur:
- Injury or death. If someone was hurt or killed as a result of the accident, you are required to inform law enforcement officers.
- Property damage over $500. You are required to report a motor vehicle accident when property damage is over $500. People who are involved in an accident often have no idea of the value of property damage. Even a minor dent or scrape can cost more than $500 to be repaired at a body shop. As a rule of thumb, you should report most accidents with property damage to the police.
- The other driver is being uncooperative. If an insurance claim is to be made, drivers must exchange information such as contact details, and insurance details including policy numbers. If the other driver involved in an auto accident is less than cooperative or aggressive, you should contact law enforcement. A police or highway patrol officer will obtain official reports from each involved party as well as witnesses to the wreck.
- The other driver disputes what happened. Parties to a car accident often have a different version of events and who was to blame for a crash. In these cases, it’s important to contact the police to get an independent report about how the accident occurred. A police report can help in negotiations with insurance companies.
- You are hit by an uninsured driver. If the driver who hit you is uninsured, you may face further complications in dealing with an insurance company. You should contact the police in these situations. A police officer can verify that a driver was uninsured. The report will help you make a claim on an uninsured or underinsured insurance policy with your own insurance company.
If in doubt about reporting a car accident in Georgia, err on the side of caution. The property damage threshold to report a crash in the state – just $500 – is considerably less than that in most states that require wrecks with property damage of $1,000 to $2,000.
If there is any uncertainty about whether a driver or a passenger was injured, you should contact the police. Always remain at the scene of an accident until a law enforcement officer has arrived. You could face a fine up to $1,000 and even jail time for hit-and-run.
People who are injured after a driver leaves the scene in Georgia may have legal redress. If you can’t trace a driver, you may be able to make a claim on an uninsured driver policy.
If you or a family member has been involved in a car accident in Georgia, it’s important to act in a way that will protect you in a future insurance claim. If you suffered injuries, you should talk to a Newnan personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your rights. Never admit blame and be wary about talking to the other side’s insurance company before talking to a lawyer. Call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.