We have a new home location! We are now located at 3700 Crestwood Parkway, Suite 600, Duluth, GA.

What happens if you don’t report a car accident in Georgia

Georgia law requires you to report any car accident resulting in death, injuries, or at least $500 in property damage. Failure to do so is punishable by jail time, fines, or license suspension. It may also lead to a hit-and-run lawsuit.

If the other party was at fault, you may have difficulty filing a successful claim without a police report. Understanding what Georgia crash reports are and how they work can help you feel more confident in your journey toward recovering compensation.

Who Do I Need to Notify If I Am in a Car Accident in Georgia?

Anytime you are involved in a car crash in Georgia involving injury, death, or at least $500 in property damage, you must notify the police department in the municipality or the sheriff’s office in the county where the accident occurred. If the crash happened outside city limits, you can report it to the Georgia State Patrol office.

How Quickly Must I Notify Law Enforcement of the Accident?

Georgia law is not explicit about how much time you have to report an accident. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273, you must notify law enforcement “immediately” and “by the quickest means of communication.” To be safe, you should report the crash as soon as you can.

What Are the Penalties for Not Reporting an Accident?

State law requires you to report an accident if it results in injury, death, or property damage for $500 or more. However, many people do not immediately realize they are hurt or how much damage their vehicle incurred. Calling the police right away is always the safest bet.

Failure to meet this legal obligation is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail term of up to 12 months, depending on the circumstances. A conviction for a failure to report an accident may also add points to a driver’s license.

Should I Remain at the Scene of the Accident?

Georgia law requires you to remain at the scene of an accident that damages an occupied vehicle. According to O.C.G.A. § 40-6-270, you must:

  • Exchange information with the other driver.
  • Provide assistance and contact emergency medical services if anyone is injured.
  • Contact law enforcement and wait for an officer to arrive.

Leaving the scene, also known as “hit and run,” can result in misdemeanor criminal charges and a mandatory license suspension upon conviction. If the accident results in serious injury or death, felony charges will apply, carrying far more severe consequences.

The only exception to the requirement to remain on the scene is if you need to call for help or seek immediate medical care.

Am I Required to Also Report the Accident to My Insurance Company?

You must notify your auto insurance provider of any accident as soon as possible. Many policies require notification within 24-48 hours, but check your policy documents for specifics. Reporting promptly helps protect your rights and facilitates the claims process. Failure to promptly notify your insurer could result in reduced or denied coverage.

When speaking to an insurer about the collision, avoid making any statements about who was to blame. If they interpret your remarks as an acceptance of fault, you may have a more challenging time filing a successful claim against the other driver. Allow your Georgia car accident attorney to handle all communications with insurance adjusters. Your lawyer will know how to speak to them without inadvertently harming your claim.

Will a Police Report Help Me When I File My Insurance Claim?

A police report provides objective documentation of what happened during the accident. The officer’s unbiased notes on factors like weather and road conditions, witness statements, and vehicle damage can strengthen your insurance claim.

A police report also includes the officer’s initial assessment of who was at fault for the crash. Because insurance companies often rely at least partially on the officer’s opinion, the report can streamline your chances of receiving compensation if they determine that the other driver caused the crash.

However, an officer’s initial assessment that you were at fault does not necessarily prevent you from filing a successful claim. An experienced attorney can investigate the accident to demonstrate why the officer’s conclusions might have been inaccurate. They can employ accident reconstruction experts, secure surveillance footage of the crash, and interview eyewitnesses to show that the other driver’s negligence caused the collision.

A skilled attorney can also assess the crash report to ensure it has no mistakes that might unfairly harm your claim. If they find any errors, they can submit corrections so the report accurately reflects what occurred in the accident.

Contact a Georgia Car Accident Lawyer

The aftermath of a traffic accident can feel overwhelming. However, you do not have to face this time alone. An experienced car accident attorney can advise you on your legal obligations after a crash and protect your rights during the insurance claim process. They can request a copy of the police report to build a strong case showing the at-fault driver’s liability. And they can do it at no upfront cost to you, instead collecting a fee based on whatever they recover for you in a settlement or at trial.

The legal team at Kevin A. Adamson, P.C. has the experience, skill, and knowledge to handle all aspects of your claim from start to finish. Let us take care of the legal heavy lifting so you can focus on your recovery. Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.