If you’re involved in a car crash, you count on the police to respond, help secure the scene, speak with all involved parties, collect information, issue citations if needed, and draft the accident report—critical for dealing with insurance companies in more serious situations.
In late July, the Atlanta Police Department announced that, due to COVID-19, their officers would no longer respond to automobile accidents unless drivers or passengers were injured. The announcement came by way of a Facebook post on a page covering non-emergency services, and it had many citizens worried.
Police are again responding to Atlanta car wrecks
Just weeks later, the APD shared on social media that the temporary non-response policy had actually been in effect for months—since the pandemic first reached Georgia in March. Most importantly, they noted that, with traffic on the rise since then, normal operations would resume and officers would again respond to non-injury accidents.
Why a response at the scene is so important for most crashes
During the two-week period drivers were aware of the policy change, many concerns were raised about the idea of a police officer not responding to a crash. Among them:
- It would be hard to determine fault in an accident, information that insurance companies utilize when determining how to process claims.
- Drivers could withhold information, such as drivers’ licenses and insurance information. Georgia drivers do not have to carry physical proof of insurance.
- Without a police officer present, drivers could become aggressive or confrontational.
- Accident scenes would not be secured, increasing the chances of additional injuries.
11Alive reported on a couple who did experience some of these challenges after a crash involving a tractor-trailer. The couple called the police and tried to get insurance information from the truck driver, but he refused and left the accident scene. An officer did arrive on the scene three hours later, but it was too late. Fortunately the injuries were minor.
Returning to the old policy will hopefully avoid these situations, allowing officers to help gather necessary information and ensure that the crash site is safe. Thank you Atlanta Police Department!
What should I do after an accident?
While it’s good news that the Atlanta Police Department “will resume responding to non-injury accidents,” according to their statement, it’s still a smart idea to know what to do if response is delayed. In that case, you’ll have to think like an investigator and be sure you collect all the information your case might require. If it’s safe to do so, you’ll want to:
- Take pictures of the scene, including close-ups of vehicle damage.
- Photograph the other driver’s license and tag, and get insurance company information.
- Speak to any witnesses and record their accounts, as well as their personal contact information.
It’s also important to take any potential injuries seriously, even ones that may seem minor at first. Seek medical attention if there’s even a chance you believe you were at all hurt in a car crash. If you can’t put weight on a limb, if you don’t have a full range of motion, if you feel pain or pins and needles, or if your head was hit in any way,, don’t take unnecessary risks — see a doctor.
Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyers
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you deserve fair compensation. An Atlanta car accident attorney can help you take on the insurance company, allowing you to move on with your life. Contact the personal injury attorneys at Litner + Deganian for a free consultation