If you have been involved in an auto accident in Georgia, calling the police is not only a good idea to document the accident for your own records, but also may be required by law. Having a police report filled out at the scene also serves a number of other important purposes, including:
According to Georgia Law (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273), if you are involved in an auto accident in Georgia, you are required to notify the police if:
Most auto collisions will involve at least one of these, and, therefore, unless you believe that there is no damage and you are absolutely not injured, you should always call the police. Of course, you are only required to notify police under these conditions if you are physically able, meaning that you aren’t required to report the accident if you are seriously injured and unable to do so. Even if it appears that no one is physically injured, or the damage doesn’t appear to reach the $500 threshold, calling the police is still a good idea because injuries can arise later and vehicle damage can be worse than it appears on the outside.
If you fail to report an accident that should have been reported under the criteria above, you could be subject to potential criminal charges, and you leave yourself open to a claim by the other driver that you are at fault. A very common criminal charge associated with failure to report an auto accident and/or leaving the scene of the accident, is a hit-and-run (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270). A hit-and-run charge can range from a misdemeanor to a felony depending on the severity of injuries caused by the accident.
Even where you are not required by law to notify police of an accident, reporting the accident is still a good idea. Even if a wreck is minor, a police report is an important document that can help you ensure your vehicle gets repaired by the correct insurance company, be it your own or the at-fault driver’s insurance. Without the report, you have no proof of who was at-fault, how the damage occurred, or when it happened. This can lead your insurance company to deny coverage or raise your rates if you can’t prove that you weren’t at fault for the damage.
Additionally, even if you don’t feel like you are injured in the wreck, some injuries, such as whiplash, may take a few days to fully develop. Without a police report, you may be stuck paying your own medical bills. With a police report, you may be able to make a claim under the at-fault driver’s insurance.
A police report is an important piece of evidence that can help you recover compensation for any personal and/or property damage that you or your vehicle may have sustained in the accident. Here is a sample police report:
Some reports will contain additional information, such as a supplemental report detailing the findings of further investigation after the crash, additional citations issued, and other information relating to the continued investigation of the crash.
If you have been injured in an auto accident, it is important to call an injury attorney as soon as possible. Tell them about your accident report and send them a copy if you have already obtained it from the police. An experienced injury attorney like Bethany Schneider can help you set up your insurance claim and will ensure that all of your bases are covered with regard to your claim. An experienced injury attorney like Bethany Schneider can also advise you on how to handle recorded statements, and will walk you through the complex procedures that will follow your insurance claim.
After your injury, an experienced personal injury attorney can be one of your greatest assets. Bethany Schneider of Schneider Injury Law has years of experience and success settling and litigating personal injury claims for her clients. If you have been injured in an auto accident and need an attorney that knows how to WIN, then call Schneider Injury Law at (404) 800-3060, or email Bethany directly at Bethany@SchneiderInjuryAttorney.com for a free consultation.