Hawk Law Group | January 14, 2022 | Car Accidents
Calling 911 after a car accident in Edgefield County is not just a good idea. In some situations, Georgia law requires it. With very few exceptions, you should call 911 whenever you get into a traffic accident in Georgia.
Read on to learn why you should call 911 after a car accident in Edgefield County and how a failure to call 911 could affect an injury claim.
Your Obligations at the Scene of a Car Accident
Georgia has several laws that outline the steps you must take after a car accident. If you fail to take these steps, you could face criminal penalties and/or suspension of your driver’s license.
If you’re involved in a traffic accident that causes injury, death, or vehicle damage, you must:
Stop at the Scene of the Accident
You must stop at the accident scene or the closest safe place. If you fail to stop, prosecutors can charge you with a hit-and-run.
Upon conviction, a judge can sentence you to up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) also imposes a mandatory 120-day driver’s license suspension for a hit-and-run conviction.
You must assist anyone injured in the accident. Call 911 immediately if someone:
- Show signs of injury
- Needs transportation to a hospital
- Is unconscious
- Is dead
Failing to render assistance can sometimes qualify as a hit-and-run, even if you stop at the scene of the accident.
Georgia law requires you to give your name, address, and vehicle registration number to the other people involved in your accident. You must also share the vehicle owner’s name and address, the vehicle license plate number, and the insurer of the vehicle (if different).
Your Obligation to Report an Accident
Georgia law also requires you to report certain accidents immediately. If an accident causes death, injury, or at least $500 in property damage, you must report it to law enforcement officers.
If the accident happens within city limits, you must call the local police department. For other locations, you must call the county sheriff or the Georgia State Patrol.
Consequences of Failing to Report an Accident
You can face criminal, administrative, and civil penalties for failing to report an accident.
The police can cite you for failing to report an accident. They could do this even if you did not flee the scene of the accident. Your duties to stop and render aid are separate from your duty to report the accident.
If a judge convicts you of failing to report an accident, you could face the following consequences:
- Up to one year in jail
- Up to $1,000 fine
- Retaking the driver’s license test
- Completing a driving course
A judge can suspend part of your sentence and order you to avoid getting any traffic citations for a set period. The judge can order you to serve the suspended sentence if you get another ticket.
The Georgia DDS will add three points to your driving record upon a conviction. Georgia will suspend your license if you accumulate 15 or more points over 24 months.
If you fail to report an accident, an insurer can deny your injury claim. Because the law requires you to report accidents involving injuries, the insurer can argue that you did not suffer any injuries if you did not report your accident. Alternatively, they may claim you don’t have proof that the insurer is responsible for your losses.
Courts have even allowed insurers to deny claims for accident victims who delayed reporting an accident. As a result, you should always report an accident as soon as possible.
Calling 911 Satisfies All Your Duties
Under the law, you must use the “quickest means of communication” to report an accident. This means that calling 911 will usually satisfy both your duty to report and your duty to render aid. This helps you retain your right to injury compensation and ensures everyone injured in the accident can get the help they need.
Contact the Car Accident Lawyers In the Central Savannah River Area at Hawk Law Group for Legal Assistance Today
We serve throughout the Central Savannah River Area and its surrounding areas:
We also serve in Edgefield County, SC.