UNITED STATES—After a car accident you’ll need to act quickly to have the best shot of getting compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer. However, exactly how quickly you’ll need to act will depend on the state where the accident took place. In Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years. You should report your accident at the scene, and you’ll have two years to file a lawsuit.

Should you report the accident?

You might not want to report an accident if you believe it is minor, but it’s in your best interest to do so. If you fail to file a report, you may discover you have accidents later on, but you won’t have any evidence. In some cases, it may be illegal to fail to file a report with the police, such as when someone has been injured. In Georgia, which has at-fault laws, you must file a report for any accident that results in more than $500 of damage.

You will also need to report the accident to your auto insurance company. Whether the accident results from your fault or not, your insurance company must come into play. You should also contact a personal injury attorney who has experience litigating car accident cases to learn more about your rights and options. If you weren’t at fault, you may be eligible for compensation.

When should you report the car accident?

Report the accident at the scene. Most insurance companies have active hotlines and mobile applications that are available 24/7. Have you been involved in a single-vehicle accident, and you aren’t sure whether to give your insurer a quick call and notify them of the accident? You might want to read through your insurance policy to see if it’s necessary. Visit this website to learn how to begin the accidents claim process as soon as possible.

Most insurance companies require policyholders to report accidents within 24 hours after the accidents and no later than three days. You will be required to provide a report of the accident to the police with detailed events such as:

  • Witnesses
  • The severity of the damages
  • Exact spot of the accident
  • Contacts of other people involved

The police and insurance investigators will determine who was at fault, and your attorney will also want to conduct their own investigation.

Can you make a claim after an accident?

After reporting the accident, the police officers will investigate the matter to provide clear facts on the case. Get a copy of the police report and have any errors corrected before they have a chance to complicate a personal injury claim. Once you have the report, you’ll also want to collect your medical bills, documentation of your missed work, and any other type of documentation you have that is related to your damages.

The more evidence you have to prove your claim, the greater your chances of being able to settle out of court. If the at-fault party’s insurer won’t agree to an adequate amount, you may end up having to take your case in front of a judge or jury so they can decide the settlement amount.

What happens if you don’t report your car accident immediately in Georgia?

According to Georgia law, you must report an accident “immediately.” However, the law does not state a specific number of days in which you must do so, nor does it state what the consequences will be if you don’t file immediately. There is also no way to know how reporting an accident late will affect your specific claim, though it’s safe to assume it won’t help anything. If you’re in an accident, no matter where you are, it’s a good idea to report it right away.