What Georgia Law Requires Drivers to do After an Accident
There are several things a crash victim can do after a car crash to help build a case against the at-fault driver. However, Georgia law also has some requirements for drivers after an accident. These critical steps are designed to protect you, but they may also help provide useful evidence if you later pursue a personal injury claim for your damages.
An experienced Savannah car accident lawyer can provide you with a free case review to determine if you have a valid case. If we represent you, we will guide you through the legal process and ensure your best interests are protected.
Georgia Law on Stopping After a Crash
If you are involved in a car accident, Section 40-6-270 of the Official Code of Georgia says you must stop at the scene or as close as possible and do the following:
- Provide your name, address and vehicle registration number
- Show your driver’s license to the other driver(s)
- Provide reasonable assistance to anyone who is hurt, including taking them to the hospital or arranging to get them to the hospital if necessary, or if they request transportation to the hospital
- Make reasonable effort to contact emergency medical services and local law enforcement if someone is unconscious, deceased or unable to communicate
Drivers must remain at the scene to fulfill all these requirements and must stop their vehicles without obstructing traffic more than necessary.
You are required to call the police if anyone is injured or killed, property damage exceeds $500 or your insurance company requires you to call the police after an accident.
Penalties for Hit-and-Run Accidents
If a driver leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in property damage but no injuries, he or she could be charged with a misdemeanor. The first offense can carry between $300 and $1,000 in fines, one year in jail and the cost of damages from the crash. Another charge within five years of the first carries a fine of between $600 and $1,000 and one year in jail. Three or more charges within five years carries fines of $1,000 and one year in jail.
If there is a serious or fatal injury, at-fault drivers who leave the scene face fines of as much as $10,000 and jail time. If the victim dies, the fleeing driver can be charged with first-degree homicide by vehicle and potentially be imprisoned for between one to five years or more.
Calling the Police Even if the Other Driver Seems Honest
It is never a good idea to leave the authorities out of the picture, even if someone offers to pay for the damages out of pocket. If you are to blame for the accident, a police report gives you an official record of what the officer observed, as opposed to going by hearsay.
Calling the police also protects you from a less-than-honest negligent driver who gives you false insurance or contact details.
What to Say When You Call 9-1-1
When you call 9-1-1, be sure to relay the important information so help can get there quickly. Tell the dispatcher about:
- Location of the accident – Be sure to include any landmarks you noticed, the direction you were going, street signs or anything that may help first responders to find you
- Scene description – Try to provide useful information, along with any immediate safety concerns you may have, such as a confused or injured accident victim potentially walking into traffic
- Injured victims – Report the physical injuries you notice, including bleeding, broken bones, nausea or dizziness.
What Else Should You Do After an Accident?
There are several steps you can take to help provide evidence to support and validate your claim, which can help you and your attorney build a stronger case. Here are some of the most important pieces of evidence you can contribute:
- Photographs or videos of the scene – Pictures and videos of the scene, damage to other vehicles and road conditions help provide an accurate description of the accident.
- Pictures of your injuries - Capture the injuries when they first happen and then periodically through your recovery to show the progress.
- Maintain an accident journal – Describe what you remember about the accident while the memory is fresh. You can also use it to record accurate and precise information about your recovery. The value of this journal is entirely dependent on how consistent and accurate you are with each entry. Date each record and be specific, but not wordy. Discuss things like doctor’s appointments, gas spent for treatment or doctor visits, details about how you felt daily, including pain levels, activities you were unable to do, and when you felt anxious or depressed during the recovery process.
Contact Roden Law for Help After a Car Accident
The attorneys at Roden Law are well-versed in Georgia laws and the details of the legal process. We offer a free initial case evaluation to determine whether you may have a valid claim.
If we represent you, there are no upfront charges. We work on contingency, so we do not see a dime unless we recover compensation on your behalf.
Call today 1-844-RESULTS to see how we may be able to help.