Being involved in a car accident makes it difficult to make quick decisions. Stress levels are high, and drivers become emotionally upset.
But making the right decisions at the scene of an automobile accident is essential to your legal protection.
Knowing when to leave the scene is the first step in avoiding common mistakes that lead to costly legal issues. Responding police officers will let you know when it’s okay to leave, and you should make sure that everything is settled before driving away.
Why You Need to Remain at the Scene of a Car Accident
There are many reasons why drivers need to remain at the scene of an accident. Insurance companies try to avoid paying for injuries or damages, and gathering evidence helps you present your case when filing legal claims.
Having the right evidence improves your chances of obtaining compensation for any losses related to the accident.
Remaining at the scene lets you identify any witnesses who may be able to provide their own testimony related to the event. This can help you establish liability while also confirming your own recollection of the accident.
You’ll need to file a report with the responding police officers. This is critical to the process of filing a claim with insurance providers.
If you leave the scene early, your account won’t be recorded in the police report, which makes the process of getting compensation much more difficult.
What Happens if You Leave the Scene Before You Should
Injuries are likely to occur in a car accident. But if you leave the scene before you should, you may fail to identify injuries at the scene. This can cause issues when other drivers or passengers later report injuries that may or may not have occurred at the time.
Knowing what injuries have taken place (either your own or those of other drivers) is essential to providing accurate information to insurance companies and the courts.
Make sure that the information related to any injuries and other factors are included in the police report. If you leave early, you may be putting yourself at risk of not getting the compensation you deserve.
Georgia law requires drivers to provide their personal information when involved in a car accident.
Leaving the scene without doing so can lead to severe consequences, including a felony charge. This is even more important in accidents that have resulted in injuries or death.
A conviction could put you behind bars for up to 5 years, and you may be subject to fines reaching up to $1,000.
Loss of driving privileges and an inability to secure employment due to a conviction are other consequences that should be considered.
Other Things to Consider Before Leaving an Accident Scene
Once you’ve determined the safety of you and your passengers, you should help others involved in the accident before leaving the scene.
Remaining at the scene lets you make sure that everyone is okay and provide assistance to those who need it.
Also, oncoming traffic may present an additional risk, and you can help set up obstacles or warning signs to protect everyone involved.
Some drivers and passengers become emotionally distraught. By remaining at the scene, you can help keep others calm and ensure that everyone has exchanged the information needed before moving on.
Drivers should wait until police officers say it’s okay to leave the scene of an accident.
Consulting with an attorney helps you determine the value of your case and identify those drivers who are responsible for any damages.
If there are no responding officers, you need to make sure that all individuals, injuries, and damages are accounted for while collecting the personal information you need to file a successful personal injury claim.