What If the At-Fault Driver Does Not Report the Accident?

Car accidents have complex and far-reaching consequences for all the parties involved. For the injured driver, it means expensive medical bills, lost wages, and the risk of being left with a permanent disability. For the at-fault driver, it means having their premiums go up, or facing fines and jail time if they were speeding or driving under the influence.

This is why it is not unheard of for an at-fault driver to avoid reporting an accident, both to the police and to their insurance company. In this case, a Fayetteville car accident lawyer will investigate the case thoroughly and help you win your compensation.

If the driver at fault has not reported the accident, you need experienced legal representation. Otherwise, the negligent and irresponsible driver may get away with the deed, while you are left to cope with injuries and crippling medical expenses.

When Are You Required to Report a Car Accident in Georgia?

First of all, you need to know that most traffic accidents on the roads of Georgia must be reported to the police. The Official Code of Georgia 40-6-273 states that the driver who was involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or property damage totaling $500 or more must report the accident “immediately, by the quickest means of communication.” In most of the cases, you can do this by calling 9-1-1 from your mobile phone.

You should not wait for the at-fault driver to do so. Any Fayetteville car accident lawyer can tell you that a driver who knows they will face steep financial and legal consequences is not keen to comply with their legal requirements.

Do I Need to Report a Minor Accident to the Police?

A Fayetteville car accident lawyer urges anyone to report any kind of traffic accident to the police. This includes:

  • Minor accidents (medical bills and repair costs can be greater than anticipated).
  • Accidents taking place on private property (the at-fault driver will not receive a traffic citation).
  • Situations when the other driver tries to convince you to settle the matter privately.

The Importance of the Police Report

The police report is crucial for seeking financial compensation after a Georgia car crash. This report typically includes detailed information such as the date, time, and location of the accident, the names and contact details of the drivers, witness statements, and a description of the vehicles and damages. If either driver broke a traffic law, the report will include a citation.

Insurance providers rely heavily on the police report to confirm details about the car crash. Personal injury attorneys use the crash report along with other evidence when proving fault. Since Georgia is an at-fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurer is responsible for the other driver’s damages.

Police Officer Talking to Driver At Fault For Crash

Calling the Police May Be Your Only Chance to Identify the At-Fault Driver

Some drivers will not stop at all after an accident. Others will stop briefly, check to see the damage they caused, and then drive away. In both cases, they are guilty of hit-and-run under Georgia law. This is a serious offense.

If the other driver flees the scene, you should never attempt to cash after them. This is a job for law enforcement. You may place yourself in a dangerous situation. Plus, you will also be guilty of leaving the accident scene before the police arrive to investigate the crash.

A Fayetteville car accident lawyer knows that the only things you can do are write down the license plate number and the description of the car – make, model, and color.

Even if the at-fault driver does not leave the accident scene, they may refuse to give you their contact details. However, they cannot refuse to provide this information to the police. Reporting the accident and getting a copy of the accident report remain your best chances of knowing who the driver and their insurer are.

Reasons Why an At-Fault Driver Would Not Report an Accident

In our experience as personal injury lawyers, we know that a driver who fails in the legal obligation to report a traffic accident has something to hide. In most of the cases, it is one of the following:

  • They are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • They are uninsured.
  • They are driving with a suspended license.
  • They are not driving their own car (borrowed from a friend, company car, stolen, etc.).

Each of these situations makes your car accident claim more challenging. Thus, you will need an experienced Fayetteville car accident lawyer to represent you and help you make the best legal choices.

What to Do if The Driver At Fault Has Not Reported Accident

Whenever you note that the at-fault driver is unwilling to report the accident, you must be extra careful and proceed with caution. Here are some of the things you must do.

Get the Driver’s Insurance Company Details at the Scene

When you’re in a car accident, make sure to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Get the following information from the other driver:

  • Full name
  • Phone number, email, and address
  • Driver’s license number
  • Name of the driver’s insurance company and policy number
  • Insurance company contact information

You should also note the car’s make, model, and license plate number.

What If the At-Fault Driver Does Not Report an Accident?

Report the Accident to Both Insurance Companies

After reporting the car crash to the police, notify your own insurance company. If you obtained the other driver’s insurance details, notify their auto insurance company as well. You should do so by phone within the first 24 hours after the accident and later by certified letter.

Many at-fault drivers believe that, even if the police investigated their crash, they can somehow keep their insurer out of the process and, thus, avoid getting their premiums increased. Of course, it does not work like that. Yet, the more you delay informing the other driver’s insurance company, the more weapons you will give them to deny or reduce the value of your claim.

Do Not Accept Any Private Agreement with the At-Fault Driver

In many cases, a simple verbal agreement to settle the matter privately can hurt your future insurance claim. Any insurance company is willing to believe anything their client says if it saves them from paying your claim.

On a more serious note, do not accept any money from the at-fault driver – not even to cover your ambulance ride or the cost to tow your car. No matter how small the amount is, when the case gets to court, the jury may not be sympathetic to your cause. They will see you as someone who tries to collect as much as possible from everyone.

Document the Accident Scene with Great Care

Finally, pay attention to all the elements of the accident scene – the position of the vehicles, skid marks, and the license plate of the other car. Make sure to take pictures of vehicle damage and any visible injuries. These photographs will be extremely useful if the at-fault driver fails to report the accident or gives an untrue version of how it happened.

Ask any eyewitnesses for their names, contact information, and a description of the accident. Witness statements can be vital in supporting your case.

Bring Your Case to an Experienced Car Accident Law Firm

Wade Law is ready to take on the most complex car accident claims. We have a combined experience of over 70 years and the determination that truth and justice must prevail. We encourage you to schedule a free case review and let an experienced Fayetteville car accident lawyer help you win the fair settlement you deserve even in the most challenging situations.

Call us today at 770-282-1188 for a free consultation!

Read More Related Articles