- A car accident crash report, also known as an incident report or police report, is completed by police officers or state troopers to document what happened at the scene of a crash.
- You can get a copy of your Georgia car accident report at the local police department, Georgia State Highway Patrol (GSP), or through BuyCrash.com.
- The police report contains the details of the accident, who was involved, and what happened and is considered trustworthy by most lawyers, courts, and insurance companies.
- Insurance adjusters rely on police reports as a primary tool to decide whether to make you a settlement offer for your personal injury case or vehicle damage.
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.
When is a car accident report required by law in Georgia?
Under Georgia law, you must call 911to report a car accident in certain circumstances. For instance, if the crash happened in a city or county with a local ordinance requiring a report, when anyone involved in the accident has been hurt or killed, when the vehicle or other property damage is more than $500, and when one is required for reporting to an insurance company.
I was in an accident, but no one got a ticket. How is it determined who was at fault?
Determining fault is not always easy, and a lack of citations can make it even more challenging. However, other factors can help determine who was at fault, such as how the accident occurred, the police report narrative, witness testimony, and statements from both drivers.
Step One: Getting Your 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 BuyCrash.com, a service that contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Note that there will be a small charge of $5.00 to get the report when you pick it up in person.
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 BuyCrash.com 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. 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.
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.
Helpful Information: How to get police accident reports from Atlanta area law enforcement agencies
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