When you are involved in a serious car accident, treating your injuries is only the beginning of your recovery process. No matter how much you want to avoid it, auto accidents are legal issues and frequently result in disputes between the insurance companies representing the drivers involved. As an informed consumer and as someone hurt in a car accident, you may be able to help your case by finding a copy of your Georgia car accident report and proofing it for errors and potential red flags.
A car accident report is a document filled out by responding police officers to document what happened at the scene of an accident. The reports contain information that may not always be discernable at first glance. Using codes and abbreviations, officers manage to fit a wealth of information on this single page—information you may need help in deciphering.
You can obtain a copy of your Georgia car accident report through BuyCrash.com, a web service that contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation. While you can contact the police department that responded to your accident directly, most local agencies will refer you to BuyCrash.com.
On the BuyCrash website, you begin by selecting the state of Georgia, where your accident occurred. Then the service will ask why you need access to the report. Among your options are “I was injured in the accident” or “I have a personal connection to the accident”. Choose the option that best fits your situation.
Once you’ve submitted your reason for requesting the report, you will be able to search the database by name. If you were a driver, enter your name and the date of collision. The report will be filed by the names of the drivers involved. Occasionally, officers will make mistakes in spelling the drivers’ names. If you cannot locate the report by name, call the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident to get the report number.
When you have the report, take your time to read it. Concentrate first on the easily understood information. Check to see that your information is entered correctly. Look at the accident location, the date and time, and the number of injuries listed.
Remember, officers often make mistakes on accident reports. Identifying these as early as possible will help prevent headaches down the road.
Read through the narrative section to see what the officer had to say about the accident and make a mental note of any errors or questionable conclusions.
If you want to delve deeper into the content of the report, you can look at the various codes. The “accident report overlay” lists the various codes and what they mean. Pay particular attention to codes that indicate who or what factors may have caused the accident. Driver condition, vehicle condition, and vision obscured by are just a few of these.
Perhaps one of the most important boxes on the entire report is the one labeled “contributing factors”. This is where the officer will make a call about what caused the accident, whether it was speeding, following too closely, mechanical or vehicle failure, driving too fast for conditions, or drunken driving.
Even in determining who is to blame for an accident, police officers don’t always get it right. But, the accident report will be considered carefully by the insurance companies involved.
Accident reports are complex documents made more confusing when there are mistakes or misleading information. Our lawyers can help you sort through the confusion and potentially help rectify any mistakes present.