Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | June 10, 2020
Hardly anyone expects a car accident to happen to them. But with more than 260 million registered vehicles on our roads and 218 million licensed drivers, it’s likely you’ll be involved in a car crash at some point.
Each time you get behind the wheel, there’s a risk you could be involved in a car accident. If you’re involved in a car crash, the first call you make should be to report the accident by calling 911.
Am I Required To Call 911 After An Accident?
Under Georgia state law, there are times when you’re required to call 911 to report a car accident. If any of the following situations happens in a car crash you’re involved in, you have a duty to report it.
- Someone has been injured.
- Someone has died.
- There’s been at least $500 worth of damage to either vehicle.
Again, if you or anyone experiences any of the above conditions during a car crash you’re involved in, you must report it to 911.
What’s the Penalty For Not Reporting a Car Crash?
If you don’t call 911 to report your car crash when required, you may face charges for hit and run or failing to report an accident.
A conviction of either of those charges could result in you:
- Having your driver’s license suspended
- Facing heavy fines and time in jail
You could also face losing your auto insurance coverage if you don’t let your insurance provider know about the accident.
Should I Call 911 If I’m In a Minor Fender Bender?
Even if you feel the damage is minor and no one has been injured, it’s still in your best interest to call 911. It’s important to have first responders on the scene to ensure that everyone is safe — even for car crashes that may seem minor.
The main advantage of calling 911 after a minor accident, though, is to document the evidence for your insurance claim.
How Does Calling 911 to Report an Accident Help Me?
There are times when motorists think twice about calling 911 to report they’ve been in a car accident. Some fret about the possibility of their insurance premiums going up. Others are convinced not to call 911 by the other driver.
The truth, though, is that you’re far better off calling 911 after your car crash than not doing it. When you call 911, you’re automatically connected to the closest Georgia police precinct based upon where you are.
Many insurance providers require you to call 911 right after the accident in order to process your claim.
Also, if you decide to pursue legal action through a personal injury claim, the crash report made by the responding police officer will likely serve as key evidence for your case.
What Else Should I Do If I’m Involved In a Car Crash In Georgia?
The steps you take in the immediate aftermath of your car accident will have a huge impact on what happens legally to your case.
- Check yourself for injuries. If you are seriously injured, stay where you are, call 911 and wait for help. If you can move around, check on the health of the other people involved in the accident.
- Try to document as much of the accident scene as you can. Use the camera on your smartphone to photograph all damage to all involved cars, road conditions, and location of traffic signals and signs, and other notable landmarks nearby.
- Identify people who may have witnessed your car accident. Be sure to get their name and contact information.
- Exchange insurance provider information with all people involved. The key information you’re after is the name of the insurance provider, the policy number, and license plate number of the owners of the other vehicles.
- Be seen by a doctor. Even if you’re not feeling any symptoms, you should still be seen by a medical doctor as soon as possible. Many common car crash injuries can take days or even weeks to make themselves known. Your doctor will know exactly what types of injuries to look for. Be sure you follow the doctor’s instructions after your exam.
- Call a personal injury attorney. You need to select an attorney who has a clear and established record of handling car accident cases. Make sure your attorney has access to your medical records and any other evidence you have so that it’s easier to build your case.
- Talk only to your attorney about the car accident. The insurance provider of the person who caused the accident will do their best to contact you and convince you to settle your case immediately. Don’t let them do that to you. They are professional negotiators who can easily make the worst possible deal for you seem like your best option. Instead, let your attorney do the talking and negotiating for you.
If you haven’t been involved in a car accident yet, the chances are strong that you will be at some point in your life. By printing this article and keeping it in your glove compartment, you’ll know exactly what to do if it happens to you.