Georgia Car Accident Laws

If you’re in a crash on the I-20 or deep in the heart of hellish Atlanta traffic, you’ll be better off having known the laws in Georgia around reporting accidents and claiming damages.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
If you get in a car accident in
, it is your lawful duty to immediately report any accident resulting in injury, death, or property damage of $500.00 or more. You’ll be able to claim damages through either your own insurance, the insurance of another involved party, or a combination of the two, depending on the levels of fault determined.
Some of us have been lucky to mostly avoid car accidents, but for those of us who haven’t, we know that it can be a seriously damaging and jarring experience—especially if you’ve been personally injured. It’s important to know the laws surrounding car accidents before you start driving.
If you’re in need of brushing up on your Georgia car accident laws, the
car insurance
shopping app
is here to take you through all you need to know about accident laws. We’ll cover accident reports, liability insurance, personal injury lawsuits, and the confusing comparative fault system used in the Peach State.
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What to do after a crash: Georgia car accident reporting laws

Hopefully the
first thing you ought to do after a crash
will come naturally, but if you need a reminder, make sure to the best of your ability that you and everyone in your vehicle are safe. Move your vehicle to a safer location if you’re able, check for injuries, and call 911 if anyone involved is hurt.
Get documentation of the scene of the crash, especially by taking photos if you can do so safely. Also, don’t forget to exchange insurance and license information with the other party or parties. Next, you’ll have to report the accident:
  • Immediately to the police (calling 911 counts)
  • To the DMV (optional)
  • To your insurance company 
Here’s a closer look at Georgia’s laws on accident reporting.

When to report an accident to the police

Any accident that results in bodily injury, death, or property damage over $500 must be reported immediately to local police or state patrol—if you’re confused, just call 911. Since COVID-19, some police departments are not responding to accidents that don’t have any reported injuries.

Hit and run laws in Georgia

In Georgia, drivers have a legal duty to stop at or return to the scene of an accident they’ve been involved in, as long as it meets the criteria listed above. At the scene, they must do the following:
  • Provide other involved parties with their name and address, along with the registration number of the vehicle they’re driving.
  • Show their driver’s license upon request, if available.
  • Render reasonable assistance to any injured person, such as organizing or providing transportation for medical treatment and making every reasonable effort to make sure assistance is on its way. Remain at the scene throughout this time.
To fail to do any of these things would be considered a hit and run, which is a felony.

When to report an accident to the DMV

You’re not required to report an accident to the Georgia DMV, but drivers are encouraged to complete an
Accident Self-Report Form
to help record information, often for the sake of your auto insurance coverage.

Financial responsibility and coverage minimums: Georgia’s insurance laws

Now that we’re on the topic of insurance, it’s important to be aware of Georgia’s minimum liability insurance requirements.
In Georgia, all drivers must be able to demonstrate financial responsibility for the vehicle they drive. The most common way to do this for anyone who isn’t ridiculously rich is to
purchase car insurance
. In Georgia, the minimum coverage amounts are:
  • $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP)
  • $10,000 per accident of Property damage liability (PDP)
If you’re caught driving without insurance, you could face a license suspension of up to 3 years for a first offense, and you’ll be charged a $150 reinstatement fee to
get your license back
Unfortunately, not every driver in Georgia is responsible enough to carry insurance. The Insurance Information Institute found in 2019 that 12.4% of drivers in Georgia were not carrying insurance.
If you’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance, you’ll be on the hook for trying to coax out compensation from them for damages through a legal system that is frustrating at best. This is why
uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
is never a bad choice.

Claiming damages after an accident: Georgia’s personal injury laws

There are specific sorts of damages that you can sue for, depending on the circumstances, according to Georgia’s personal injury laws. These types are as follows:
  • Punitive damages: These are claimed when the damages are a result of “tort actions,” which is a quick way of referring to willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, etc. The damages are meant to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff.
  • General and special damages: General damages are those that need not be proved, whereas special damages must be proved in court to be recovered. These damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff.
  • Direct and consequential damages: Direct damages address the immediate effects of the accident. Consequential damages address effects that follow in the future—which may depend to some extent on other circumstances, such as long-term injuries.
  • Damages given as compensation for injury: These needn’t be related to a tortious act, like the ones above.
  • Damages for injury to peace, happiness, or feelings: These can be claimed as a result of a tort action.

Exceptions to Georgia’s personal injury laws

In some cases, it may be ruled that the damage incurred by a plaintiff is merely “the imaginary or possible result” of an action, in which case the damage is considered “too remote” and cannot be claimed.
It is also important that there is a responsibility placed by state law on the injured person to mitigate damages as far as they are able, so you may receive less compensation if you are found negligent in any way—like if you weren’t wearing a seatbelt.

Who’s to blame: Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law

In Georgia, parties involved in car accidents will be determined to be more or less at fault than one another, represented by a percentage factor.
You can recover a compensation amount against any party who was deemed more at-fault than you, corresponding to your own share of the liability. This system is referred to as modified comparative negligence.
For example, if Jesus and Dmitri get into an accident, it may be that one or both of them were breaking traffic laws. In the case that both parties were found to be partially at fault, both will be partially responsible for damages. You cannot recover anything if your share of the fault meets or exceeds 50%.
So let’s say that Dmitri was determined to be 30% at fault for making a poorly judged left turn, and Jesus was on the hook for the other 70% of the fault for having been speeding in the intersection. This means that Dmitri is entitled to 70% of his total damages from Jesus’ insurance company, and Jesus cannot recoup any costs from Dmitri’s insurance company

How to save money on car insurance in Georgia

Regardless of your level of fault, getting in a car accident in Georgia will likely result in your
insurance premiums going up
. After this happens, finding lower car insurance rates might feel like an impossibility, but it's never been easier than with the Jerry app.
As a
licensed broker
, Jerry compares policies from 55+ insurance companies to find you the best price for the coverage you need. The result is a streamlined comparison-shopping experience designed to save you money.
How much money? Well, the stats say that the average user who purchases insurance through Jerry saves over $800 a year on car insurance alone!
is a great product with great customer service! The quote comparison found me lots of options being in Georgia.” —Gregory K.
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