Consequences of No Police Report After a Car Accident in Georgia
Following a car accident, you may feel like your mind and body are spinning—you and others involved are likely gauging damages and personal injuries, finding a safe place away from traffic, and calling emergency services for police intervention.
While the aftermath of an auto accident can feel overwhelming, it’s critical to remember to file a police report to avoid fines, imprisonment, or license suspension. In Georgia, police reports are often mandatory. They can also serve as a key piece of evidence for your Georgia car accident lawyer if you decide to pursue a car accident settlement, file an insurance claim, or seek other financial assistance.
That’s why we’ve compiled this guide to steer you in the right direction in regards to post-crash procedures and the importance of car accident reports in Georgia.
What Should You Do After A Crash?
If you’re reading this immediately after a car crash, the most important thing to do is stay calm. Then, while you’re still at the scene, take the following steps:
- Take precautions – If your car is still driveable, pull it off of the road in a safe location. If you think the situation isn’t safe, stay in your car, keep the windows up and doors locked, and call 911. Stay in your car until help arrives.
- Call the police – In Georgia, you must call the police and file a report for any accidents where the damages exceed $500. Don’t try to crunch the numbers now—call the police out of an abundance of caution, even if your car appears to be fine. When they arrive, make sure to get each police officer’s name and badge number.
- Assess and record – Check yourself for injuries and take photos of any if you can. If it’s safe to get out of the car, take a look at the damages, and take pictures of those, too.
- Collect information from other drivers – Once it’s safe to do so, ask other drivers for their contact information. Get their insurance policy number and year, tag number, driver’s license number, and other vehicles’ makes, models, years, and colors.
- Call your insurance company – Start the claims process as soon as you can. But, try to keep your explanations brief. Once you get home, or while you’re waiting for the police to arrive, start writing your own personal report on everything that happened with as much detail as possible. It is important to file a claim before the statute of limitations for car accidents in Georgia has passed, so file sooner than later.
Do You Have To Call The Police After An Accident In Georgia?
For some, getting law enforcement involved in a car accident case can be uncomfortable.
But, if you think that in a Georgia car accident no police report is required, you’re mistaken. In other words, you’re required by Georgia law to report any accidents that result in a death or injury or incidents that have damages valued at more than $500 or more.
That said, when on the car accident scene, it can be difficult to gauge the exact cost of the damages. As such, it’s always recommended to call the police (or 911, if the situation is unsafe or if you’re badly injured) as soon as you can to file a police report and avoid any potential legal consequences of not filing a report.
Failure to file a car accident report may result in fines of up to $1,000, jail time, or suspension of your license. If the car crash was your fault, driving away without filing a report may also result in the victim claiming compensation for a hit-and-run case. If you were wondering, is Georgia a no fault state, the answer is no. This is why it is important to file a car accident report immediately— because it can prove liability.
How Long Do You Have To File A Police Report After A Car Accident In Georgia?
Georgia law is unclear about how much time you have after the auto accident to file a police report.
But, to protect your best interests (especially concerning insurance payouts) and promote your safety on the scene after an accident, you should call the police as soon as it’s safe to do so.
Also, don’t forget to ask the police officer involved where to find a copy of your police report once it’s on file. This is important information to have on hand once you give your statement to your insurance company during the claims process.
Can You File An Insurance Claim Without A Police Report In Georgia?
Filing a police report is often legally mandatory in Georgia, but it can also assist you when filing a claim with your insurance company. Technically, you can file an insurance claim without a police report in Georgia. After all, not all insurance claims arise from accidents—it probably doesn’t make sense to call the police before filing a claim for hail damage, for example.
But, in the event of an accident (especially one involving another driver), it’s almost always the right call to file a police report. There are a few reasons why:
- When your insurance company asks for your statement of how the accident happened, your account can be verified (or some parts can be) by a third party—the police.
- The police respond to lots of car accidents, from fender benders to multi-car pile-ups. Insurance companies see them as valuable, credible witnesses to the aftermath of accidents.
- Insurance companies will appreciate that you did your best to follow proper protocols. This might help you if your insurer is hesitant to give you financial compensation after an accident. Learn more about the average settlement for car accidents in Georgia to see how much compensation you could receive.
Mighty: A Team That Cares About Injury Recovery
After a car accident in Georgia, it’s in your best interest to call the police and file a report—and, depending on the severity of the accident, it might be required by law.
Car accidents can be disheartening. But, your physical and financial safety should be your first priority.
Mighty is here to help you get the legal, medical, financial, and other help you need after an accident. But, we’re not just a face on a cheesy billboard—we’re a team that cares. We’re up-front and transparent about our pricing, and our case managers will help you navigate life after an accident.
Mighty Law lawyers also follow a strict, first-of-its-kind code of conduct that protects you every step of the way.
At Mighty, we value your bottom line over ours, every time. If you need a car accident attorney in Atlanta, GA, call us at 888-217-0029.
Insurance Information Institute. What to Do at the Scene of an Accident. https://www.iii.org/article/scene-accident
Georgia General Assembly. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273. https://advance.lexis.com/api/document/collection/statutes-legislation/id/6348-FY71-DYB7-W2V1-00008-00?cite=O.C.G.A.%20%C2%A7%2040-6-273&context=1000516
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