After you are in a car accident, especially one that was someone else’s fault, the first thing that you should try to do is preserve evidence. One of the best ways to do that is to file a police report. Filing a police report is not only required by law but will help your attorneys greatly when it comes to putting together evidence for your claim.
Why File a Police Report?
There are two reasons why you should file a police report after an accident. First, Georgia law requires you to do so. Second, it can help you preserve evidence that can be used later by your lawyers.
The Law Requires Police Reports
Under Georgia law, all car accidents that result in greater than $500 in damages, or result in the injury or death of one of the drivers, must be reported to law enforcement immediately. Likewise, your insurance company also requires you to report accidents to the police.
You need to make sure to comply with the law because failing to do so can have consequences for you later on. For example, your failure to report an accident to the police immediately after it happens can result in you being unable to bring a lawsuit for your damages, or at least limit your ability to do so.
Similarly, if you do not comply with the terms of your insurance contract, your insurance company might not be required to cover you, meaning that you could end up paying for your damages out of pocket. It is better to be safe than sorry, and you should always file a police report immediately after your accident.
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How to File a Police Report
Reporting an accident to the police is quite easy. You simply need to dial 9-1-1 while at the scene of the accident, and a police officer will be dispatched to your location. While at your location, the police officer will perform a brief investigation and prepare a report which you will be given a copy of.
You might also need to file a separate report with the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS). The DDS report is fairly simple, but it will require you to swear an affidavit in which you inform the DDS that you were in an accident and believe that you are entitled to recovery from another driver. You need to have this form notarized as well.
If you need any assistance filling out the DDS affidavit, you should contact an attorney to make sure that you protect your right to seek recovery later. Contact Barrios Virgüez to help you.
What Else to Do After an Accident
After calling the police, there are other things that you have a legal responsibility to do, even while simply waiting for the police to arrive. These responsibilities apply whether the accident was your fault or not, and failing to obey the law can have serious consequences.
After an accident, you should:
- Immediately stop your car, or return to the scene of the accident
- Exchange your contact information with the other driver
- Exchange your insurance information with the other driver
- Render aid to any person that was injured in the accident, including calling for an ambulance
- Immediately notify law enforcement of the accident
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible
If you fail to do any of the above, you could face adverse legal consequences. You may even be found to be at fault. If you leave the scene of the accident you may be liable for a hit and run, which can cause your legal problems and force you to accept liability for the accident.
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What Information Will an Accident Report Include?
Accident reports often change based on the location of the accident and the severity of the accident. The information that is included in the accident report will often determine what kind of coverage you are entitled to.
The accident report will often include all drivers’ names, insurance information, and license numbers. The police officer investigating the accident will also collect statements from the drivers and any witnesses who happened to see the accident.
The witnesses and drivers will be asked to provide information such as the conditions of the roads, the events they saw leading up to the accident, and anything else that they might have seen. The report will also include photographs or sketches, or details of the officer’s opinion of who was at fault for the accident.
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How does Having an Accident Report Help You with a Future Lawsuit?
The accident report will be the first document that your attorney will use when putting together your case. While the accident report itself cannot serve as evidence, it will preserve the name and contact information of all of the witnesses to your accident so that you can later find them more easily to call on them to testify.
The police report will also give your insurance company a starting point to determine if you were at fault for the accident. If the accident report says that the other driver was at fault, this is normally enough for your insurance company to decide to cover you. The accident report can also protect you against false claims by other parties, as you will always have a record of what actually happened.
Contact Barrios Virgüez
If you have been injured in an accident, contact a Georgia car accident attorney as soon as possible. They will help you with every step of the process, including:
- Investigating your case
- Gathering evidence
- Negotiating your settlement
- Represent your interests in court
When you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, after calling the police and your insurance company, make sure your next call is to Barrios Virgüez. You will pay no fees unless we receive money for you. Contact us today for a free consultation and case review.