How to Obtain Your Georgia Car Accident Police Report in 2024

Key Points:

  • A crash report, commonly referred to as an incident or police report, is prepared by law enforcement to record the events of a car accident.
  • In Georgia, you can obtain your car accident report from the local police department, the Georgia State Highway Patrol (GSP), or via
  • This report provides detailed information about the accident, including involved parties and the sequence of events. It’s widely trusted by lawyers, courts, and insurance companies.
  • Insurance adjusters often use these police reports as a foundational reference when determining whether to extend a settlement offer for injuries or vehicle damages.

When you are involved in a serious car accident, treating your injuries is only the beginning of your recovery process. The next step will be to locate the necessary documentation to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages in an insurance claim. To start, you will want to get a copy of the police report as soon as possible, so you can have a copy handy when you begin addressing your property damage and medical concerns.  You may also request or allow your car accident lawyer’s office to get the report for you.

Does Every Car Accident Come With a Police Report?

In Georgia, the law mandates that you call 911 to report a car accident under specific conditions. For example, if the accident occurred within a city or county that has its own rules requiring a report, you must notify the authorities. Additionally, it’s obligatory to report if anyone involved in the crash sustained injuries or was killed, if the damage to vehicles or other property exceeds $500, or if a report is necessary for insurance claim purposes.

Not every accident results in damages exceeding $500, and not everyone involved in accidents with damages over that amount contacts the police. Therefore, not every car accident will have an associated police report. However, whenever the police are summoned to the scene of an accident, there’s typically a police report generated, especially if multiple drivers are involved or there are injuries.

Why is a Police Report Necessary in a Car Accident Legal Claim?

A police report serves as an objective and official record of a car accident, which is why car accident lawyers emphasize its importance when pursuing a claim. The report, prepared by law enforcement, provides a comprehensive and impartial account of the incident, detailing the involved parties, witness statements, potential violations, and often an initial assessment of fault. This neutrality is critical; unlike statements from involved parties, which might be influenced by emotions or personal biases, a police report stands as a credible and consistent document that courts, insurance adjusters, and other involved entities can reference.

Moreover, the police report aids in establishing the foundational narrative of the accident. It ensures that the sequence of events and facts remain consistent throughout the claim process, minimizing ambiguities that could be exploited to devalue or discredit the victim’s claim. When insurance companies evaluate a case, they rely heavily on the police report to understand the circumstances and determine liability. Without this report, a victim’s account may face increased skepticism, making it challenging to secure a fair settlement. Given the weight and credibility this document carries, personal injury lawyers view it as an indispensable tool in building a robust and convincing case for their clients.

Can the General Public Access Police Reports, or Is It Limited to Lawyers and Insurance Companies?

Police reports, while official documents, are generally considered public records in many jurisdictions. This means that members of the general public typically have the right to access and review these reports. The underlying principle here is transparency, which is essential in democratic societies to ensure that governmental agencies, including law enforcement, remain accountable to the public they serve.

However, there can be exceptions and limitations. In certain cases, specific details or entire reports might be withheld from the public to protect the privacy of individuals involved, especially if they are minors or victims of sensitive crimes. Moreover, ongoing investigations can also lead to temporary restrictions on the accessibility of certain police reports to safeguard the integrity of the investigation.

While lawyers and insurance companies often request these reports as part of their professional duties—either for legal proceedings or claim evaluations—they don’t typically have exclusive access. They access these reports under the same public records laws that grant access to ordinary citizens. However, they might be more familiar with the process and have established routines to obtain them more efficiently.

Do You Need to have a Direct Relationship or Connection to Someone Involved in the Car Accident to Obtain the Police Report?

You don’t need a direct relationship to anyone involved in the accident to get a copy of the police report. However, it’s important to understand that most agencies won’t allow casual browsing of reports. To obtain a specific report, you must provide certain details about the accident. This includes key information like the accident number, names of those involved, their birth dates, or the date of the collision. You aren’t required to prove that you are one of the parties involved.

Does it Cost Money to Obtain a Copy of a Police Report for a Georgia Car Accident?

If you choose to collect your report in person from a law enforcement agency, there is typically a nominal fee that varies, usually ranging from $5 to $15, depending on the agency. Should you opt to purchase the report online through third-party services like, there will be a charge. It’s worth noting that while police reports do come with a fee, they are generally affordable. You can typically obtain a copy for under $20.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Police Report After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, obtaining the police report can vary in time depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the accident. Generally, for minor accidents, a police report might be available within a few days. However, for more severe incidents or those requiring detailed investigations, it might take a couple of weeks or even longer. It’s advisable to contact the relevant law enforcement agency directly for an estimated timeline. Moreover, remember that high-demand periods or administrative delays can occasionally prolong the wait. Always keep in mind the importance of patience and persistence when awaiting essential documents like a police report.

How to Get Your Police Report at a Local Law Enforcement Agency

The report is usually available a few days after the crash at the local police or sheriff’s department that worked the wreck, the GA State Patrol office nearest the accident scene, or online at, a service that contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation.

At the scene of the accident, many police departments hand you a card containing your accident report number. You can use this number to request your report. If not, the Records Unit can usually locate your crash report by your name, date of birth, and the collision date.

How to use to Get Your Police Report Online

On the BuyCrash website, you begin by selecting the state 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. As mentioned previously there will be a charge for the report, so you should be ready to enter payment information.

Once you’ve submitted your reason for requesting the report, you can search the database by name. The report will be filed by the names of the drivers involved. If you were a driver, enter your name and the date of the crash. 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.

How to request an accident report using the Georgia Open Records Act

The State of Georgia allows you to use the Georgia Open Records Act to obtain a traffic crash report.  The Open Records Act is found at O.C.G.A. 50-18-72. To make an open records request for the traffic report, you may submit a request form to a local State Patrol Post or the Georgia Department of Public Safety, DPS Open Records Unit.  In your request, you must include  your name, address, telephone number, persons involved, type of record being requested, the Georgia city or county where the accident happened, the date of the accident, and the crash report or incident report number if you know what it is.

Understanding the Georgia Accident Crash Incident Report

If you want to delve deeper into the report’s content, you can look at the various codes. The “accident report overlay” lists the 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 are just a few of these.

The narrative and diagram sections of the report will generally contain a summary of the police officer’s findings about the accident, including what the drivers and witnesses had to say about the crash.

The Cause and Effect of Car Accident Reports

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, for instance, if it was speeding, following too closely, mechanical or vehicle failure, driving too fast for conditions, drunken driving, etc.

Even in determining who is to blame for an accident, police officers don’t always get it right. Still, 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 errors.

Common Questions about Police Reports after an Accident

How to Get a Report When You Don’t Know Which Police Department Responded to Your Wreck?

After a car accident, it is not unusual to not know or remember which law enforcement agency worked the accident. 
In Georgia, it will likely be one of three law enforcement agencies:  the local police department (city or county), the local sheriff’s department, or the Georgia State Patrol (GSP).  If you can call these agencies and provide your name, vehicle identification number (VIN), and the date, time, and location of the collision, one of these agencies should have the report.

Can you have a police report completed after the accident if the police did not respond?

In some cases, it may be a good idea to have a police report made for insurance purposes, even if the police did not respond to the scene. This may happen when the accident was minor (less than $500 worth of damage), or your car was damaged in a hit and run while parked. In these instances, call your local police department and request that an officer be dispatched to complete a report.

What is a Georgia Personal Report of Accident Form?

Georgia’s Department of Driver’s Services provides a personal report of accident form that can be filled out by drivers to preserve information about a crash.  Often this is used for insurance purposes.  It is not required by law.

Is it required for someone involved in a car accident to be injured for the police to file a report?

Injuries are not a prerequisite for a police report to be generated at the scene of a car accident. While a police report is highly likely if there are injuries, it is not obligatory. The sole requirement for a report to be filed is the presence of clear vehicle damage.

Is it a requirement for police reports to be created at accident scenes only when someone receives a ticket?

Just like injuries, the presence of a traffic ticket is not a prerequisite for the police to generate a report at a car accident. While the likelihood of a police report being filed increases if a traffic citation is issued at the scene, it is not mandatory.

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Helpful Information:  How to get police accident reports from Atlanta area law enforcement agencies

How to Obtain a Report From The Georgia State Patrol / Georgia Department of Public Safety

Fulton County Police Department – How to get your police report

Clayton County Police Department – How to get a report

City of Atlanta Police Traffic Reports (Central Records Unit)

Gwinnett County, Georgia Accident Reports – how to get yours

Cobb County, Georgia Police Traffic Crash Reports

Dekalb County Police Reports

Douglas County, GA Accident Reports

Henry County, Georgia Traffic Accident Reports

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