Car accidents happen every day in Georgia. In 2016, Georgia’s fatal car accident statistics were up 8.5% from the previous year, with 1,554 traffic accident deaths. Getting into at least a minor car accident is a relatively high probability in Georgia. Knowing what to do after a wreck could save a life. It could also protect you from liability and criminal charges. Reporting your accident to the correct parties is an important step after a car accident.
When to Report a Car Wreck
It is against the law in every state to leave the scene of an accident. Doing so constitutes the crime of hit-and-run. A driver must stop as close to the scene of the wreck as possible and assess for injuries and damages. If the crash caused injuries, deaths, or more than $500 in property damages, the driver must call 911 to immediately report the wreck. Failing to call the authorities when the law requires it is a crime. The other responsibilities you have as a driver after a crash are to show proof of insurance, exchange information with the other driver, call for help if anyone has injuries, and remain at the scene until the police tell you otherwise.
Call 911 from the scene of the car accident to report your crash to the local police in Georgia. Calling 911 will automatically connect you to the closest precinct based on your location. Your insurance company will typically require you to call 911 and get a police report if you wish to file an insurance claim. The law in Georgia also requires a call to 911 if the accident was serious enough to fulfill the stipulations listed above. Give the police the information you know about the crash, including your location, the time of the accident and whether anyone has injuries or property damages. Wait at the crash scene until the police arrive.
Request an Ambulance
While you are reporting a car accident in Georgia, request immediate medical services if you or anyone else has any injuries. Requesting paramedics could help you or another injured person receive the medical care necessary for a better prognosis. Failing to ask for an ambulance could lead to more severe injuries, especially if you feel symptoms in your back, neck, or head. If you do not wish to pay for an ambulance, at least get a ride to the hospital after your car accident for a checkup.
Send the Department of Public Safety a Report
If the police arrive and the car accident did in fact cause injuries, fatalities, or at least $500 in property damages, the police will automatically send a copy of the crash report to the Department of Public Safety (DPS). The DPS keeps track of all serious accidents to compile crash data for future use. The DPS should receive a copy of the report within 10 days of the accident. It is your responsibility to file an accident report with the DPS if the police do not do so for you. You may want to contact the DPS after your accident to see if they received a copy of the report from the police.
Get a Copy of the Accident Report
The responding police officer should have given you a business card. Call the number on the card a few days after the collision to ask if a copy of the police report is available. The police station may be able to send you a copy directly, or else transfer you to the DPS for a copy. You may need to pay a small fee at the police station for a copy of your incident report. You may also be able to purchase a copy of your car accident report online through nongovernment-owned websites. Finally, you could hire a car accident lawyer to obtain a copy of your police report for you.