Atlanta Car Accident Reports: Get What You Need After a Crash

Are you confused by Atlanta car accident reports? Get clarity on how to obtain them, what they contain, and how they help your case. Contact us today!

ezgif.com webp to jpg (3)
ezgif.com gif maker
aaforjusticelogo 1920w

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
    • Witnesses
    • The insurance company covering the property or people involved in the accident
    • Lawyers of the people involved in the accident or their insurer
    • Any other person who can show a reasonable and legitimate interest in the report’s content

    Understanding the Content of an Atlanta Car Accident Report

    Accident reports have specific sections that provide essential details about the accident. Being familiar with these sections can help you understand your report better.

    1. General Information: This section contains general information, such as the date, time, and location of the accident, as well as the names and contact information of all parties involved.

    2. Vehicle Information: This section lists all vehicles involved in the accident and their corresponding vehicle identification numbers. It also includes information on insurance coverage and any potential violations.

    3. Witness Information: This section provides the names and contact information of any witnesses present at the scene of the accident.

    4. Narrative Description: The narrative description is a written account of what occurred during the accident, as reported by the investigating officer.

    5. Diagram or Sketch: This section may include a diagram or sketch of the accident scene, showing the position of the vehicles and any related objects.

    6. Officer’s Opinion: The officer may include their initial opinion on who was at fault in causing the accident based on their investigation.This may be subject to change as more evidence is gathered.

    7. Supplemental Reports: Additional reports may be added to the original accident report if new information or evidence becomes available.

    How to Obtain Police Reports

    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. 

    In-Person Request

    You can submit a request form to the relevant authority in person. In your request, provide the following information:

    • Your name and contact details

    • Persons involved

    • 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 responding police 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. If you’re having trouble understanding any of the codes, reach out to your lawyer for help.

    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.

    If you were involved in an accident and have obtained a police report, reach out to Dressie Law Firm for further assistance. If you haven’t yet, contact us to handle the process on your behalf. We will strive to get you the best possible compensation. Let us help you get through this difficult time and start rebuilding your life.

    Book a free consultation with us today!

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!