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Injury Attorneys

Should I Call 911 After a Car Accident in Augusta, GA?

June 19, 2024Car Accident

Augusta, GA, is home to over 200,000 people. The city and surrounding areas see thousands of car accidents annually. Some of these crashes only result in property damage, while others cause life-altering injuries. 

But do you have to call the police after a car accident? Well, that depends on the severity of the accident. In a minor accident, you might not need to call the police. It’s important that you accurately determine whether your accident was ‘minor’ under Georgia law.

Regardless of whether the law requires you to, however, it’s almost always in your best interest to call 911 after a crash.

Exactly What Constitutes a ‘Minor’ Car Accident Under Georgia Law?

A car accident is ‘minor’ under Georgia law (thereby excusing you from calling the police) if all three of the following statements are true:

  • Nobody died in the accident;
  • Nobody suffered an injury in the accident;
  • Property damage (if any) amounted to no more than $500.

Be careful about the last one. These days, even a minor scratch might add up to more than $500 in damage.

The Legal Consequences of Failure To Report an Accident

Failing to report an accident when you’re legally required to report it could constitute leaving the scene of an accident or hit-and-run. Depending on the circumstances, the consequences of leaving the scene of an accident might include a driver’s license suspension and more.

Car Accident Injuries With Delayed Symptoms

One of the major risks of leaving the scene of an accident without calling 911 is that you might be hurt and not know it. Below is a list of medical conditions that frequently produce delayed symptoms: 

  • Concussion and other traumatic brain injury;
  • Whiplash;
  • Spinal injury;
  • Soft tissue damage;
  • Internal bleeding;
  • Nerve damage; and
  • Emotional distress such as PTSD.

If you fail to seek medical treatment from the scene of the accident, you are inviting the insurance company to claim that your injuries didn’t occur until after the crash. That would mean that the accident didn’t cause your injuries, which would completely relieve the insurance company and the at-fault driver of liability. 

If this defense succeeds, you would have to pay for your injuries yourself.  

Liability and the Police Report

If you decide to file a personal injury claim, the accident report generated by the police could serve as key evidence for your case. That is true even though most of the time, a court will consider it hearsay and won’t allow you to present it as part of your lawsuit.

The reason for this restriction is that you can always call the police officer who wrote the report to the stand. The officer’s verbal testimony is superior to the police report. 

Nevertheless, you can use a favorable police report as strong evidence in settlement negotiations. The police report is powerful because it tells the insurance company how the responding officer will testify in case your claim goes to trial.

Damages You Can Get After a Car Crash

You might qualify for the following damages after an Augusta, GA, car accident:

  • Economic damages: Medical expenses, lost earnings, out-of-pocket expenses, and more;
  • Non-economic damages: Intangible losses such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Non-economic damages frequently amount to far more than economic damages, even though they are intangible.
  • Punitive damages: Courts occasionally award punitive damages if the defendant’s conduct was outrageous. A DUI may or may not be enough, but a road rage incident is definitely enough. Even so, a court is never obligated to award punitive damages.  

Remember that you have to prove every penny in damages that you claim.

Should I Call My Insurance Company After a Minor Accident?

Many insurance policies require you to call 911 immediately after an accident as a condition for processing your claim. Your insurance provider might cancel your insurance if you don’t notify them of your accident. 

Ideally, you’d get legal advice as soon as possible after your accident; if you hire a lawyer, they can handle the insurance company for you. Remember that the insurance company isn’t on your side; they’re in business to make money.

Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney?

The more serious the accident, the more likely you are to need an attorney. The good news is that under the personal injury contingency fee system, you will owe your lawyer nothing in attorney’s fees unless you win compensation for your claim.

Contact an Augusta Personal Injury Lawyer at Nicholson Revell Personal Injury Attorneys Today

For more information, please contact our Atlanta personal injury lawyers at Nicholson Revell Personal Injury Attorneys to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Augusta, GA, and its surrounding areas:

Nicholson Revell Personal Injury Attorneys
4137 Columbia Rd, Augusta, GA 30907
(706) 722-8784