Yes, you can file a car accident claim without a police report in Georgia. Insurance companies often require a police report to assess the value of your claim, though. A police report is an important piece of evidence detailing how the accident happened. The report may also show who the at-fault party is, making it easier for you to get compensated.
Without a police report, your case may be more complex. It could be more difficult to figure out who’s responsible and the settlement amount you can claim. You can file a police report after an accident or obtain a copy of it from the officer who responded to your accident.
When a Police Report Is Necessary
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273 requires that each driver file a report with the local law enforcement body if the accident causes property damage worth $500 or more. You can still file a car accident claim without a police report in Georgia, but it can limit the amount of compensation you receive.
The most common case where injured parties do not file a police report is in hit-and-run accidents. In this situation, you can file a car accident claim without a police report, but, again, it affects your settlement. This is because it is difficult to prove that another party is liable for the accident.
When you work with a lawyer on your hit-and-run case, they can attempt to find the liable party and collect as much favorable evidence as possible to strengthen your case. A lawyer will extensively investigate your case and may even bring in accident reconstruction experts.
Situations Where a Police Report Can Make a Difference
Your car accident claim might fail without a police report if the other driver has no insurance. Your insurer could refuse to apply your uninsured motorist coverage if you do not file a police report. If you do not know the identity of the liable party, it is always best to file a police report. Certain insurance companies, however, do not need a police report to provide uninsured motorist coverage.
Lack of a police report negatively affects your car accident claim if there is no evidence. For instance, if there are no eyewitnesses, it might be hard to prove that you are not liable.
A police report is important if the at-fault party is refusing liability for the accident. Without a police report, it is difficult to ascertain who is at fault. The negotiating process will be difficult because the liable party’s insurer may refuse to settle. The best available option for making a car accident claim without a police report is to hire a lawyer.
What You Can Do If You Are Filing a Claim Without a Police Report
If you file a car accident claim without a police report, here are a few actions you can take to help your case:
- Take photos of the vehicles involved and your injuries
- Seek medical attention
- Connect with a car accident lawyer
- Gather and record as much information about the accident such as the date, time, weather, and location
- Collect information about witnesses
Why You May Not Need a Police Report
Police reports are inadmissible in a court of law. This means that it only serves as a testimony of the accident. It does not prove what happened because the police often arrive after the accident. The police cannot give a first-hand account of the accident.
You do not need a police report to legitimize the damages that occurred in an accident. A police report is unnecessary if the damages are not worth $500 or more. If your insurance company does not require a police report, then you do not need it.
Without a police report, you can make a successful car accident claim if you:
- Establish that a duty of care existed
- Prove that there was a breach of duty of care
- Show the breach of care caused your injuries
- Display your damages that are a result of the accident
Being at Fault for a Car Accident Can Still Entitle You to Compensation
Georgia is a comparative fault state, which means that at-fault parties can get compensated. According to O.C.G.A § 51-12-33, parties to an accident can receive compensation provided their percentage of fault does not exceed 50%.
If you are the at-fault party in a car accident, you should involve the police and have a report filed. Having a police report as an at-fault party may give you a better chance of receiving a settlement.
Get Help with Your Car Accident Claim
Not knowing what to do immediately after an accident is normal. But nothing should prevent you from filing a car accident claim, even without a police report. For help building a strong claim, reach out to George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers. Call (843) 779-1777 and get a free consultation with a team member.