How Your Driving Record May Affect Your Injury Case
A car accident can have far-reaching consequences. It can cause severe injuries, expensive medical bills, and vehicle damage. It can also affect your driver’s license standing, insurance rates, and driving record.
Although someone else is at fault for the crash and should be financially responsible for your injuries, negative marks on your driving history might limit your financial recovery. An insurance carrier can review your records to determine how to handle your injury claim. They might blame you for what happened if they notice a history of reckless driving or argue that your injury is due to a preexisting condition.
How an Accident Affects Your Driving Record
A car accident can appear on your public record after you or someone else reports it to law enforcement. State law requires anyone involved in a crash to report what happened to the local police department if it causes an injury, death, or over $500 in property damage.
An officer should arrive at the scene to investigate and create a crash report to file with the Department of Transportation. That becomes a matter of public record, meaning someone can look up information about the accident online. However, they must submit an official request if they want a copy of the crash report and pay a fee.
A potential employer or landlord can view your public records (including a crash report) to determine whether to accept your application. If the accident is your fault, it might indicate careless behavior. You could miss out on a job opportunity or residential rental if that information is readily available on the report.
A car accident can also negatively affect your insurance rates. Your insurance company will likely deem you a high-risk driver if you are at fault for a crash. That means the insurer can increase your monthly premium.
How Long Does a Car Accident Stay on Your Record?
The duration of a car accident appearing on your insurance record depends on the insurance carrier. Most insurers have a two-year lookback period. That means the crash will remain on your insurance record for up to two years.
During the lookback period, you might have to pay a higher premium. However, the insurance company will remove the accident from your record after two years, returning your insurance rates to normal. If you cause another accident during the lookback period, it can lead to additional consequences.
Notifying the police and filing a report with the Department of Transportation isn’t necessary if the collision doesn’t cause injuries, death, or property damage over $500. That means the accident won’t show up on your public record.
However, it can result in points on your license if the officer cites you for a traffic or moving violation. The points will fall off after two years. The traffic conviction is permanent and remains on your record indefinitely. You might be able to hide the traffic violation or temporarily restrict the public from viewing it.
How Can I Get an Accident Off My Record?
You can’t remove a traffic conviction from your record. However, you can request to reduce your driver’s license points. You can reduce seven points from the total number of points you accumulated but not to less than zero points. You can make this request once every five years.
You must attend an approved defensive driving course to qualify for a point reduction. After successful completion, you must bring your certificate to a nearby Department of Driver Services customer service center in Georgia. Or you can mail the certificate to the Georgia Department of Driver Services.
You might also lower your insurance premium if you successfully complete the defensive driving course and meet these requirements:
- You are at least 21 years old
- You haven’t received any traffic tickets or chargeable accidents in the last three years
How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
Getting hurt in a car accident can upend your life. You know you deserve compensation, but the insurance company might deny your claim or reduce the value to save money. Your driving record can create challenges during settlement negotiations, especially if you have a history of traffic citations or at-fault accidents.
You should pursue your claim with the help of an experienced attorney from Chris Hudson Law Group. We can protect your rights and fight for the best possible result in your case. Call us at (706) 690-4613 for a free consultation today if you sustained injuries in a car crash in Georgia due to someone else’s negligence.