If you get into a car accident in Atlanta, you may wonder whether you need to file a police report or not. Can you just handle it without involving the police? What are your legal obligations?
Unfortunately, many car accident victims make mistakes immediately after a car accident. They may get pressure from the other driver to just “handle it under the table” to avoid negative insurance penalties. However, this can seriously jeopardize your ability to file a claim and collect the money you truly deserve.
In Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia, the law requires all drivers to file a police report immediately if their accident meets any of the following criteria:
- Any injury to passengers or drivers
- Any death
- Damage of over $500 to either vehicle
These days, accident victims can quickly reach the $500 damage threshold even in minor fender benders. For example, getting a dent repainted can cost hundreds. In addition, today’s cars are designed and manufactured in a way that often requires replacing whole panels or fenders rather than fixing the damage to the existing one. This can cost significantly more money than you realize.
For these reasons, most individuals involved in a car accident will need to file a police report.
These days, Atlanta police do not always respond to non-injury accidents. As such, you will need to call 911 and report the accident anyway. Even if there are no injuries, calling 911 is a good place to start. You will then need to fill out an accident form yourself.
What Can You Do at the Accident Scene to Help Your Case?
Since the police may not come to your accident scene, you will need to be proactive. Take some of these steps as quickly as possible after your crash to help preserve data and evidence.
- Take photos of the damage and of the accident scene
- Get copies of the other driver’s information, such as driver’s license and insurance card
- Write down the other driver’s vehicle information, including the license plate number, make, and model of the vehicle.
- Gather any eyewitness contact information
- Contact your insurance company and report the accident
- Seek medical attention even if you do not believe that you suffered an injury
- Fill out an accident report or police report
Filing and Obtaining Police Report After an Atlanta Crash
In Georgia, you can file an accident report by filling out Georgia SR-13. Keep a copy for your records and then bring that copy to the nearest police station. The accident report should contain identification, insurance information, and licensing of all drivers. It will also include a description of the accident and the damage to the vehicles. If there are witnesses, you should include their contact information. This police report is crucial for establishing liability and getting insurance companies to pay for property damage and injuries.
Atlanta works with BuyCrash so that drivers can obtain police reports for their own use. You may need to use this if the other driver filed the report or if the police arrived at the scene of your accident. To access the report, you must enter specific information and pay a fee. You can also contact the Atlanta Police Department Central Records Unit after the crash to obtain a copy.
When you speak to an attorney, it is important to bring a copy of this police report with you to your initial meeting. Your car accident attorney will examine the report and use this to help determine the best course of legal action.
It is important to know that without a police report, filing a claim is even more difficult. In some cases, insurance companies will not pay claims without a police report. As such, filing a police report after a car accident is the first step you can take to protecting your rights to compensation.
Contact Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers
If you were injured in a car accident in Atlanta or anywhere in the state of Georgia, the steps you take after the crash can have a significant impact on your case. If you did not file a police report, we can help you do that. However, the best way to protect yourself after a car accident in Atlanta is to contact our law firm.
The Kim Law Team is dedicated to protecting injured victims and their families. From car accidents in Midtown to serious crashes in Buckhead, we are there for you. Call 404-587-8946 or fill out our confidential contact form. Just call and JUST WIN.