An accident in Atlanta can be a daunting and traumatic experience. You may understandably be shaken, hurt, and stressed in the wake of a crash. However, it is important to make the right choices at such a time. These include calling in the crash, getting medical help, and making sure that you report the accident to the police. These steps can ensure that you can get compensation for your damages later with the help of an Atlanta auto accident lawyer.
Reporting an accident in Atlanta is legally required in most cases. It is also important for a number of other reasons. Here is a look at these.
When Must You File a Report?
You are required to report an accident in Atlanta to the authorities as per Georgia laws. Specifically, a crash must be reported if it involves the following:
Injuries: If the crash resulted in injuries to any of the parties involved, you are required to report it.
Death: If a passenger, pedestrian, driver, or any other person died as a result of the accident, it must be reported.
Property Damage: If an accident in Atlanta results in property damage in excess of $500, reporting the crash is legally required.
When the above conditions are met, a crash must be reported under Georgia Statutes Section 40-6-273. However, if you were involved in a crash which resulted in no injuries or fatalities and the property damage was below $500, you are not legally required to report it.
How Soon to Report the Crash?
It is generally a good idea to report an accident in Atlanta right away if it meets the above-mentioned parameters. This is important for the following reasons:
- Legal Requirements: If you fail to report an accident in time, you may face legal repercussions. You may even be charged with a criminal offense for failure to report the crash.
- Police Report: Reporting the accident in Atlanta immediately will cause the law enforcement personnel to arrive on the scene. The officers will then take stock of the evidence, take your statements, and talk to witnesses before filing a police report. This report is a vital piece of evidence that will help any claim for damages you file down the report.
- Evidence: Most of the crash-related evidence is a part of the crash scene. Once you and the other parties go away from the crash scene, this evidence is lost. This is why the sooner you report a crash, the better.
Georgia laws stipulate that you report an accident in Atlanta immediately. The relevant statute can be interpreted to understand that you can wait a maximum of 30 days to report the crash. However, it is not clearly confirmed in the statute. So it is always best to report a crash right away.
What is Included in a Crash Report?
When police arrive on a crash scene, you are asked to provide your statement as one of the involved parties. When providing this statement, be sure to narrate your version of how the crash occurred by sticking to the facts.
After taking your statement, a report will be filed by the police. This typically includes the following:
- Location, time, and date of the crash
- Identification details and contact info of the parties involved
- Make, model, year, and license plate numbers of the vehicles involved
- Insurance details of the persons involved
- Details of injuries and property damage caused by the crash
- Weather and road conditions
- Statements from the drivers, passengers, and any witnesses on the scene
Importance of Reporting a Crash
A crash may result in various types of losses. Whether you seek damages from your own insurer, or from the insurance of an at-fault driver, you will need to prove the nature and extent of your losses. Insurance companies treat police reports as an important piece of documentation when appraising your claim. This is why it is immensely important to report a crash.
Once you report the crash, a police report is filed. This report is an unbiased version of events and the insurer will use this version to determine how fair or accurate your claim for damages is. In case an insurance company refuses to pay up and you have to take your claim to a court, the police report will be useful in establishing your legal claim for damages.
How Can an Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer Help You?
If you have been involved in an Atlanta accident, we can help you. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, our lawyers help you negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. We also help you file a lawsuit if needed in order to get you the compensation that you deserve. Get in touch today to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.