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What should I know about traffic accidents in Georgia?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org

Traffic accident laws in Georgia

What should I know? +

 

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What are my rights and responsibilities if I am in a car accident?

You must stop. When your car hits another car, you must stop at the scene of the accident unless there is no injury and no property damage. Hit-and-run driving is a serious crime in all states. In Georgia, it can be punished by fine or imprisonment-even if you didn't cause the accident. If you panic and flee, return to the scene of the accident or report to a police station. The penalty may be reduced if you do.

  • In Georgia, on two-lane streets, the law requires the driver of an auto involved in a collision to stop his or her vehicle immediately. The driver should try to create the least obstruction possible for other traffic.

  • On expressways or highways, the same rule holds if there is an injury, death, or extensive property damage. If there is not, the driver should move the vehicle to a median or safety lane. The driver should not move the vehicle, however, if it would further damage the vehicle or create a safety hazard.

 

In any accident, notify the police or sheriff's department at once. Tell them if an ambulance is needed. If you are in an accident and it is the other person's fault, that driver may try to persuade you that calling the police is not necessary. They may offer to pay for the damage and suggest that you both deal with the situation later. However, the driver may change their mind or give you false information. If you can, take photos of the autos and damage. It is in your best interest to call the police and get a police report. If you should hit an unoccupied car, try to find the owner. If that's not possible, leave a note with your name and telephone number.

 

You are required by law to file an accident report with the police if there are:

  • injuries, 

  • death, or 

  • property damage in excess of $500. 

 

You do not have to report the accident immediately, but should do so as soon as possible. This report is sent to the Department of Public Safety of Georgia.

 

If you fail to report a required accident, you face criminal charges and fines.

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What can I do? +

 

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How do I file an accident report?

If the crash causes injuries, death, or more than $500 in damage, you should call 911 to report the accident. The officer who responds to the accident scene will prepare an accident report.

 

Even if the accident seems minor, it is a good idea to call the police. Many insurance companies require a police report in order to file an insurance claim.

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How do I get a copy of my accident report in Georgia?

You may need a copy of the accident report (or crash report) for insurance purposes. After the accident you can get a copy of your accident report:

  • Online, or

  • Through the police department that responded to your accident.

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Can I sue the other driver for damages?

If a car accident is not your fault, you may be able to recover damages from the other driver, from:

  • Their insurance company, or

  • By filing a civil lawsuit. 

 

The are different filing deadlines for different types of claims:

  • A personal injury claim must be filed within 2 years of the accident. 

  • If the car accident caused a death, a wrongful death claim must be filed within 2 years.

  • A claim to recover damages to your vehicle must be filed within 4 years of the accident.

 

Before you file any lawsuit, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer.

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Information

Last Review and Update: Dec 01, 2020