All About Atlanta Car Accident Reports
In this guide, you can learn how to obtain, read, and use Atlanta Car Accident Reports to your advantage. For more information, call The Dressie Law Firm.
How Crucial Are Accident Reports to Your Personal Injury Claim
Reporting the accident is usually the first step people take after a car accident. The next step is to obtain the necessary documentation crucial to filing an insurance claim and getting a settlement offer.
Most people hesitate to get the police involved during a car crash. However, accident reports are important, even in minor accidents. Some injuries are not detected right after the collision. With a police report, you can prove that an accident happened and determine liability.
Further, departing the accident scene without an accident report is unlawful if the apparent injury or damage exceeds $500.
In this article, our legal team at Dressie Law Firm provides a comprehensive guide to help you learn how to find, read, and use these reports for your accident claim.
What Are Atlanta Car Accident Reports?
An accident report is an official and impartial record of a car accident. It provides complete information regarding the involved parties, witness accounts, potential violations, and initial evaluation of fault.
The report is generally not accepted as evidence in a criminal case. However, some aspects of it may be admissible if you’re filing a civil case. Your trusted Atlanta car accident attorney can use this to leverage your claim for fair compensation.
Who Issues Accident Reports?
You can get an accident report from the Department of Transportation, police department, or other law enforcement agencies, such as the local State Patrol Post or the Sheriff’s Office. This depends on the jurisdiction that investigated the accident.
Atlanta Police Department
Although official documents, police reports are deemed to be public records under the Open Records Act. The lead time to get the report may vary based on the jurisdiction and severity of the accident. In minor incidents, the report may be available after a few days.
The Atlanta Police Department Central Records Unit is the primary repository of all police reports made by Atlanta police officers. Reports can be obtained from Monday to Friday between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM.
Georgia Department of Transportation
You can also mail a request for the report to the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT). Simply fill up the GDOT Request Form. You may also purchase them online at the BuyCrash website.
Copies of the report can only be requested and used by the following:
Victims of the accident
Those who got their property damaged during the accident
The insurance company covering the property or people involved in the accident
Lawyers of the people involved in the accident or their insurer
How To Obtain Your Atlanta Car Accident Report
Car accident reports can be obtained online or in person.
Requesting a Police Report Online
Online copies of the report are available at the BuyCrash website. Start by choosing the state where the accident took place. Then, you will be given choices on why you need to access the report. Choose the option that applies to your situation. Be prepared to enter payment details since obtaining the report has a fee.
You can go through the database by name after selecting the reason for accessing the report. Reports are filed based on the names of the drivers involved. Sometimes, the names may misspelled incorrectly in the database. Contact the law enforcement agency present during the accident to obtain the report number.
You can submit a request form to the relevant authority in person. In your request, provide the following information:
Your name and contact details
Type of record needed
Georgia city or county where the crash occurred
Date of the motor vehicle accident
Accident report number (if available)
How to Read Your Atlanta Car Accident Report
Do you want to dig deeper into the contents of the report? Here are the most commonly used terms and sections found in the report.
Understanding the Jargon
Law enforcement agencies use codes to help them write reports in an accurate and efficient manner. The accident report overlay specifies all the codes and their meaning. Some terms you might find in the report are the following:
- Contributing factors: the part where the officer calls on what caused the accident.
- Surface condition: road condition, e.g., dry, wet, snowy.
- Vehicle maneuver: movement or direction of movement of the vehicle through skid marks or eyewitness testimony.
- Pedestrian maneuver: movement or direction of movement of pedestrian present in the accident.
- Injury code: this indicates whether the victim was killed or uninjured or whether the injury was serious.
Decoding the Sections
The report’s first page gives details about the parties involved, their insurance information, and whether a citation was given.
The report’s diagram and narrative sections usually provide a summary of the findings of the reporting officer. This includes what the witnesses and drivers have to say about the accident.
There may also be a supplemental crash report. It has data on the passengers, other drivers, and witnesses.
The last page specifies the Atlanta accident codes. These are usually complicated for most people to interpret.
How to Use Your Car Accident Report in Legal Proceedings
Car accident reports may not be admissible in court hearings unless the reporting officer witnessed the accident first-hand. However, your lawyer will still get a copy because it is critical to your personal injury claim. Insurance companies don’t usually follow Georgia’s Rules of Evidence in processing accident claims. They will review the accident report and conduct their own investigation to decide whether or not to pay the injury claim.
Once the case goes to trial, the crash report will be used to identify and get admissible evidence. This includes crash scene photos, witnesses, and traffic citation records to help prove the other driver’s liability.
Let Dressie Law Firm Handle Your Car Accident Case in Atlanta
An accident report is essential to get equitable compensation for your personal injury. Dressie Law Firm has extensive experience handling car accident cases in Atlanta, GA, and we can help you obtain the most favorable outcome possible.
Understanding law enforcement reports can be overwhelming, which is why we’re ready to assist you from step one to resolution. Our lawyers use a client-centric approach. We establish open and honest communication with our clients. This has enabled us to win cases in different areas of practice, including car accidents. We have a stellar reputation for maximizing case value.
Book a free consultation with us today!
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