Most people who get into car accidents fall into two categories: (1) those who demand an accident report because they know they did nothing to contribute to the wreck, and (2) those who would rather just do a quick exchange of information and keep things quiet. Some people are even motivated to avoid reporting an accident to the insurance company altogether because they’ve had one too many fender benders.
Do you have to report a minor accident to the police?
To clear up one of the most asked questions when it comes to traffic accidents, no, you are not required to call the police in Georgia unless there has been an injury, death, or property damage that appears to exceed $500.
While it’s not always mandatory to file a police report, you should still do it. It may feel inconvenient to wait for the police to show up, look over the scene, take everyone’s information, and write up the report. However, you get one shot at protecting yourself from injuries you may not even realize you have so it is better to be safe than sorry.
What does a police report provide?
Other than peace of mind, a police report serves to offer key pieces of evidence of an accident, including determining which driver was at fault. Not only can this help your case but it can protect you from the at-fault driver attempting to file a false insurance claim against you.
Information collected when police are called to the scene of an accident includes:
- Witness statements from anyone who stopped
- Information from the drivers and all passengers
- A diagram of the accident scene
- A statement describing any injury complaints or property damage
- The weather and road conditions in the accident area
What happens if you don’t call police after accident?
Vehicle damage aside, it can be days before you realize you’ve suffered an injury. Even just a tap on your bumper that jolted you can cause whiplash, lower back strain, and a host of other injuries that initially go undetected. If you didn’t call the police to document what happened but suddenly need medical treatment, you could be coming out of pocket to pay for your injuries. Notifying the other driver that you have a few thousand dollars in medical bills will potentially be met with a changed story or a refusal to respond.
Even if you choose to hire a personal injury attorney at that point, your case may be difficult to win without evidence that can determine fault. It may require more work on the back end to gather proof needed to show you were the victim than would have otherwise been necessary with an accident report in hand.
You may need to hire experts to recreate the accident scene by showing:
- How your injuries were caused
- How the damage to your vehicle occurred
- Tracking down any camera footage showing the area on the date of the accident
- The at-fault driver’s claim is false
We see it all the time. What seems like a “minor” accident causes significant injuries. You miss time from work, you can’t be active the parents you’re used to being, and you’re fighting with your own insurance company to cover a claim for something that wasn’t even your fault. To top it all off, your insurance rates are going up. All of this because, in the moment, the accident report seemed like a waste of time.
If you were recently involved in a car accident and a police report was not obtained, the longer you wait to pursue a claim the harder it will be to prove. Schedule your free case evaluation with the experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton LLP today by calling our Atlanta office at 404-998-8847, our Savannah office at 912-417-3774, or we invite you to reach out to us through our contact page to share your experience.
One of the nation’s top trial attorneys, Jeff Harris is an award-winning litigator who handles high-profile, complex cases across a wide variety of practice areas. He excels at securing justice for clients who have been seriously injured or killed, holding responsible parties accountable for their actions as well as their negligence.
Read more about Jeffrey R. Harris here.