How Long After an Accident Can You File a Police Report in Georgia?

If you get into a car crash, dozens of things will go through your mind. You’ll wonder if your family is okay. You may worry about how you’ll get to work now that your car is wrecked. You may even wonder how you’ll afford to get your car fixed.

One other thing you may wonder is whether or not you really need to call the cops. People choose to not call 911 for a variety of reasons. Some people don’t want to wait around for an hour waiting for the cops to complete their investigation. Other people are afraid they’ll get a ticket. Instead, they agree with the other driver to simply exchange insurance information and be on their way.

This is never a good idea. Not only is it smart to call the cops after a crash, but it’s also the law. In Georgia, you’re required to report almost all car accidents. If you don’t, you can actually be criminally charged. It’s considered fleeing the scene if you leave without calling the cops.

Car accident attorneys in Atlanta will tell you to call the police as well. They need the information in the police report in order to prove your case.

When are you Actually Required to Report a Car Crash?

In Georgia, as in most states, you are required to report just about any car accident. Specifically, you must report any accident involving the following:

  • Property damage greater than $500
  • Any injuries
  • The death of any passenger, driver or third-party

The law doesn’t state a specific time frame in which you must report your claim. However, it does say you’re required to do so immediately. If you fail to report an accident, you can be criminally charged with fleeing the scene.

The cops can actually issue you a citation and warrant for your arrest if they find out you failed to report an accident. Now, if the accident involved no injuries and no property damage, you aren’t technically required to report it. However, it’s not a bad idea to do it anyway.

Reporting the Accident Can Help Your Car Accident Lawsuit

You’re going to have to report the accident to your insurance company in order to get your damages covered. The best way to do this is to report it to the police. While most insurance companies don’t require an actual police report, it can certainly help speed things along.

The police report, or accident report, is prepared by law enforcement. Therefore, their determination of fault and description of the crash scene will be taken at face value. Rarely will an insurance adjuster doubt the accuracy of a police report. They have no reason to. The police don’t have any motivation to fabricate facts when it comes to determining who caused the accident.

Having a police report will also help your Atlanta car accident lawyer prove your case. If you need to file suit, you’re going to need to submit evidence showing the defendant was at fault. A police report will go a long way toward doing this.

What Information is Contained in the Police Report?

Calling the police can only benefit your case. Now, if you were at fault, the report certainly can’t help you. But reporting the crash can help you avoid any criminal liability. It can also help you avoid other legal issues.

If the other driver reports the accident and you don’t, it will only cause you trouble. In addition, if they report the crash and you don’t, the cops have to accept their version of what happened. The other driver may agree not to call the police. The next day, they may call and file a report with the cops anyway. You won’t even know they do this until you get a copy in the mail. By then, it could be too late to do anything to change the officer’s mind as to fault.

The information in the police report that can help your attorney prove fault includes:

  • Description of the accident scene
  • Statements made by the drivers and witnesses
  • Contact information for the witnesses
  • The license and insurance information for the drivers involved in the crash
  • A description of the road conditions
  • Any video recordings or pictures of the accident scene

Contact the Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in Atlanta at John B. Jackson Today

If you’ve been involved in any car accident, you need help. Call and speak with the experienced car accident lawyers in Atlanta at the Law Office of John B. Jackson today. They can review your case and let you know if you have a valid claim. Your initial consultation is free and you pay nothing until you settle your case.