You aren’t required to report an accident to the DMV in Georgia, but you must report an accident to the police if there is a fatality, injury, or more than $500 in property damage. If you don’t report an accident to the police and to the insurance company, you risk losing insurance coverage for the accident.
If you are convicted of a traffic violation as part of an accident, then the court will report your conviction to the DMV and you may have points added to your license. Otherwise, the DMV is not involved in car accidents in Georgia.
What happens when I report an accident to the police?
When you call the police, you start a process that will ultimately help resolve your claim for auto damage and medical bills. While you’re waiting for the officer to arrive, exchange names, contact information, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers and insurance information with all drivers involved in the accident.
Then, this is what you can expect:
- An officer comes to the scene and talks to the drivers and witnesses
- The officer prepares an incident report that serves as an objective account of how the accident happened
- The incident report helps show that the accident happened, how it happened, and the extent of the damage and injuries
- The incident report is a starting point for the insurance company and/or your own lawyer to investigate the accident and develop evidence about who was at fault.
- If the officer believes a driver involved in the accident has committed a crime or traffic violation, such as driving under the influence, the driver may be arrested or given a traffic citation at the scene.
Importantly, a police report may be a requirement for your insurance company to process your claim. If you don’t make a police report, you risk being told that the insurance company will not pay for your injuries or damage, or will not defend you in a lawsuit filed by another driver.
Do I also need to report my accident to the insurance company?
Yes. If you are at fault in the accident, it is your responsibility to report the accident to your insurance company. If the accident wasn’t your fault, you can report the accident to the other driver’s insurance (in case the other driver doesn’t report it), and this will begin the claim process. You should also report the accident to your own insurance company. There are many instances where your own insurance coverage becomes important, such as when the other driver does not have insurance, or doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for your damage.
When you report the accident to the insurance company, the insurance company will begin its own investigation into what happened. The sooner the investigation starts, the more quickly and easily it is likely to go, and the sooner you are likely to get paid. If you delay in reporting the accident, the investigation can become difficult. It may be hard to show fault. And the insurance company is more likely to question your version of what happened, especially if there’s no police report. In short, you may not be able to recover anything.
In making a statement to the insurance company, be careful not to accept blame for the accident or apologize for what happened—even innocent statements can be used against you. We cannot count the number of times a client has told us the insurance company called to “check on how they’re doing” or ask some friendly questions, only to later see their answers appear as evidence against their claim. You should never be the one dealing personally with the insurer if it’s possible to avoid it. That’s why we recommend that you talk to Atlanta car accident lawyers before you speak with insurance company representatives. Your lawyer will be your liaison and protect you.
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