When a bill is passed by the Georgia General Assembly and signed by the governor, it becomes part of the Georgia Code (abbreviated O.C.G.A.). The Georgia Code governs all laws within the state, organized under 53 sections called “Titles”. Title 40 of the Georgia Code governs the laws related to “Motor Vehicles and Traffic”.
Uniform Rules of the Road
Proof of Insurance - § 40-6-10
All drivers are required to not only have car insurance but to also carry proof of insurance coverage in the vehicle at all times. This can be in the form of physical documents, insurance cards, or digital information on a mobile device. If the auto accident happened while using a rental car, the rental agreement may suffice as proof of insurance.
Failing to provide proof of insurance may result in a citation and being charged with a misdemeanor. If convicted of knowingly operating a vehicle without minimum insurance coverage, the operator may be fined $200 to $1,000 or sentenced to prison for up to 12 months.
Duty to Stop - § 40-6-270
Drivers who are involved in an accident that results in damage to a vehicle operated by another person, or results in injury or death to someone, must stop immediately or as soon as possible and return to the scene of the crash.
All drivers involved must provide their name, address, and vehicle registration number, as well as driver’s license if requested.
If someone is injured, an involved driver must render “reasonable assistance”. This may include transporting or arranging transportation to a medical facility for treatment if treatment appears needed or the injured person requests help.
If a person was rendered unconscious or appears deceased after the accident, an involved driver or occupant needs to do everything possible to contact emergency medical services and law enforcement to request assistance.
Failing to stop after a serious crash that leaves people injured or dead is often referred to as a hit-and-run accident. If convicted, a driver involved in a hit-and-run can be fined, charged with a misdemeanor or felony, and sentenced to prison.
Duty to Report - § 40-6-273
Any driver involved in an accident that resulted in an injury or death of a person (or property damage worth at least $500) must report the accident as quickly as possible to the local police department, county sheriff, or state patrol. Failing to do so could result in either a conviction or being denied compensation in a personal injury claim.
Duty to Remove Vehicle From Public Roads - § 40-6-275
Unless there is an apparent serious injury or death, drivers have an obligation to move their vehicles out of the way of traffic onto the shoulder, emergency lane, or another place as long as it is safe to do so. Accidents that involve a serious injury or fatality should not be moved from the scene until after a police officer has performed an initial investigation.
Autonomous Vehicles - § 40-6-279
When an accident involves an autonomous vehicle, the operator must still comply with all of Georgia’s car accident laws. The operator should remain at the scene, provide their information, and cooperate with investigating officers.
Reporting Accidents & Giving Proof of Financial Responsibility
Accident Reports - § 40-9-31
State and local law enforcement are required to submit accident reports to the Department of Transportation and retain a copy of each accident report.
Persons involved in a crash can request a copy of the accident report from the investigating precinct, the Georgia Department of Transportation, or websites like BuyCrash.com. Having a copy of the accident report is necessary if you wish to file a claim for vehicle damages or personal injury.
Separate Causes of Action for Personal Injury and Property Damage Caused by Motor Vehicle
Under the Torts section of the Georgia Code, provisions are made for when a wrongful or negligent act while operating a motor vehicle results in physical injuries to a person and injuries to the person’s property. The injured victim has the option to pursue two separate legal cases against the defendant instead of combining the injuries into one lawsuit.
Examples of how this is applied to cases include when a pedestrian is wrongfully killed by a drunk driver or a passenger is injured due to their driver’s negligence.
Statute of Limitations
Under Title 9 of Civil Practice, Georgia law specifies how much time a person has to file a civil claim for their injuries. From the date of the accident, two years are allowed to bring a personal injury case forward.
However, it is best not to wait to file a personal injury claim. Evidence may be lost, memories can become distorted, and the defendant’s insurance company will have a hard time believing that you were actually hurt at all by the accident.
Car Accidents & Personal Injury
When a car accident leaves a person severely injured or in pain, the idea of filing not just an insurance claim for their damaged car but also a personal injury claim can be daunting. To make matters worse, the insurance company may not act very sympathetic or responsive to their needs.
If you have been injured in a wreck that was caused by someone else, the most important thing to know is that you have the right to pursue compensation against them and hire an attorney to represent you.
Filing a personal injury claim allows you to pass off the costs of your medical treatment and other expenses onto the insurance company. You can also be compensated for future medical treatment, pain and suffering, disability, and many other factors. Insurance exists in case something goes wrong, so don’t feel guilty when it’s time to use it.
Georgia Car Accident Lawyers
There is a great deal of nuance and prior court decisions that apply to car accident laws. It can feel overwhelming trying read through all of the “legalese”. The good news is you don’t have to be an expert to file a personal injury case.
When in doubt, hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Gary Martin Hays & Associates, our team of legal experts has handled thousands of cases. Whether you were hurt in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or other serious incident, we’ve seen it all.
We’re intimately familiar with Georgia’s laws and can see right through the insurance company’s tactics. If you want an Atlanta personal injury law firm that has got your back every step of the way and has earned their clients more than $1 billion in settlements, why not give us a call today to discuss your case?
Call (770) 934-8000 for a free consultation regarding your Georgia car accident today.