What If An At-Fault Driver Does Not Want to Report My Car Accident?

Key Points:

  • The Georgia Traffic Code requires any driver involved in an accident that results in an injury, death or damage of $500 or more to report the crash to local law enforcement.
  • An at-fault driver may be uncooperative or untruthful after an accident if he/she is uninsured, intoxicated or concerned about legal trouble. However, it is always best to notify the authorities. The police will obtain the license and insurance information if the driver is unwilling to share it with you.
  • You should notify your insurance company as well as the at-fault driver’s insurance company about the accident by phone within 24 hours of the accident, then follow up with a certified letter.

After a car accident in Georgia, the drivers involved in the collision are supposed to exchange license and insurance information and report the accident to their insurance companies. But some drivers are upset and uncooperative after an accident. Some at-fault drivers refuse to share information because they are uninsured and fear getting in legal trouble. Others are intoxicated and belligerent and acting irresponsibly. You may encounter an uncooperative at-fault driver, frustrating your efforts to obtain an insurance payment to cover your losses and complicating an already stressful situation.

Reporting a Car Accident Accident

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should immediately call 911 to report the accident. In fact, Georgia law mandates that car accidents that result in at least $500 of damage be reported. Determining the amount of damages done to your vehicle based on the visuals can be difficult and misleading. So, the best practice is to always report a car accident to 911 and/or local law enforcement immediately after the collision.

Reporting a Car Accident to Your Insurance Company

Secondly, you should report the car accident to your own insurance company; even if you have not been deemed as the cause of or at-fault for the collision. Some insurance policies may contain clauses in their policies that allow this to disclaim and/or deny any coverage for you if you fail to disclose and/or report that you have been involved in an accident within a specified time period.

Additionally, when you report the accident to your own insurance company, you may be able to get repairs and/or a rental car quicker, should you elect to proceed through your insurance company, who will then have a reimbursement claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Again, the longer you take to report the accident to your own insurance company, the likelihood your insurance company may deny coverage for the accident. A denial of coverage from your own insurance company could be extremely problematic if the at-fault driver is uninsured.

Why You Should Report Minor Accidents

Even if the accident is minor, you should report the accident to the police to have the documentation that the accident occurred. It will save you the headache down the road.

Does Georgia Law Require Reporting Traffic Accidents to Police?

The Georgia Traffic Code requires any driver involved in a crash resulting in injury or death or damage to another vehicle to stop at the scene and provide his or her name and address and driver’s license information.  O.C.G.A. 40-6-273  requires any driver involved in an accident that results in an injury or death or damage to the extent of $500.00 or more to report the crash to local law enforcement.  We recommend that you notify the police yourself if you are unsure whether the other driver has done so.

The at-fault driver may not want to call the police for a variety of reasons. But it is important to have an official record of the accident. Do not let another driver talk you out of calling the police and reporting the accident.  This is true even if the accident takes place on private property.  Do not let the at-fault driver make the excuse that it happened “on private property,” and leave the scene.   Although the police will most likely not issue a traffic citation when an accident happens on private property, a police report will be essential to make an insurance claim, and may be evidence in your claim if you have been injured.

While you are waiting for police to arrive, write down the make and model and color of the other vehicles involved in the accident as well as the license plate number and while you are waiting, we recommend that you take out your cell phone and use its camera to camera to photograph the scene and the damage to all vehicles involved in the wreck.

The police will obtain the license and insurance information from the at-fault driver, if the driver is unwilling to share information with you. The investigating law officer should require each involved driver to provide their name and address, as well as the name and address of each vehicle’s owner, the license number of the vehicle and each insurance company that may provide coverage. It is best to copy this information directly from their driver’s license and insurance card. If the name on the insurance card differs from the driver  or owner of the vehicle, try to clarify the relationship between the individuals and obtain contact information for both the at-fault driver and the policyholder.

Is the At-Fault Driver Drunk or Intoxicated?

Driver at faultIf you try to exchange registration and insurance information and the at-fault driver is uncooperative, it is possible that the driver has been drinking and is intoxicated.

It is difficult to deal with an intoxicated driver.

The police are trained to handle drunk drivers so it is best to wait for a law officer to arrive on the scene and deal with the driver. The police will assess whether the driver is legally intoxicated and may file criminal charges against the driver for drinking and driving. But the prosecution and conviction of a drunk driver will not provide compensation to cover your losses. You will have to make a separate civil claim to recover money from the drunk driver’s insurance company to pay you for your injuries and losses. If the drunk driver caused injury to others, the at-fault driver and their insurance company may be held liable for the harm caused to other.

Is the Driver Insured?

Georgia law requires all drivers to have at least the required minimum levels of liability insurance to drive a vehicle. An at-fault driver’s liability insurance pays for damages and injuries caused to others.

Unfortunately, some drivers disregard the law and drive without insurance. Approximately 1 in 8 drivers in Georgia is knowingly driving around without valid insurance, based on a recent study by the Insurance Information Institute. Other drivers often unknowingly have let their insurance coverage expire or lapse. An at-fault driver may be uncooperative or untruthful after an accident because the driver has no auto insurance coverage and is concerned about losing their driver’s license and having their vehicle impounded if the police discover that fact. The driver will have to obtain insurance in order to recover their vehicle.

If the driver is uninsured or has insufficient insurance to cover the cost of treating your injuries, you can file a claim under you own uninsured/underinsured motorist policy. Your UM/UIM policy should protect you up to the limits of your coverage if you are involved in an accident with a motorist who does not have automobile insurance.

Did the Driver Report the Accident to Their Insurance Company?

Do not assume that the at-fault driver will notify their insurance company of the accident. Some at-fault drivers are reluctant to notify their insurance carrier of an accident. The driver may try to deal with the accident without informing their insurance company to prevent their premiums from going up. It happens quite frequently. This could cause the at-fault driver’s insurance company to deny your claim.

You should contact both your own insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company and notify them of the accident. It is a good idea to notify them by telephone within 24 hours of the accident, then follow-up with a certified letter informing them of the accident.

If you have been hurt in a car accident, The Millar Law Firm is ready to help you right away. Call or email us and speak to a car accident attorney attorney by telephone with no obligation. Then you can make a fact-based decision about what to do next.

Have a Question?

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