Atlanta Motor Vehicle Accident Reports: The Basics
In a perfect world, you, a loved one, and other community members would never need to get your hands on an Atlanta car accident report. Unfortunately, some highways, such as I-75, are notoriously congested and see frequent wrecks, often involving multiple vehicles.
The safety of Georgia residents and visitors is essential. Some cities have ordinances that require those involved to call 911. Police reports are necessary for car accidents where someone was injured or killed or where there was significant property damage.
Officers will impartially assess the situation and construct a detailed document that will help parties interact with the insurance companies and move forward with any other actions that might be appropriate.
Understanding each of the details involved in Atlanta motor vehicle accident reports can be complicated for most people. For help understanding an Atlanta motor vehicle accident report and the reporting process, Georgia residents and their families should contact a reputable attorney from The Orlando Firm.
The Purpose of Car Accident Reports Atlanta
Although many people are hesitant to involve the police, car crash reports in Atlanta are essential, even in minor accidents.
Sometimes injuries aren’t noticeable for some time after the collision. Plus, it is illegal to leave the scene of an accident without an accident report if there is an apparent injury or excessive damage of over $500, as it may be needed for insurance purposes or other financial compensation, including the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Physical pain or disfigurement
- Mental or emotional injury or trauma
The actual report is generally not admissible as evidence in a criminal trial, but some aspects might be if you pursue a civil case. Your lawyer will be able to help you plan an effective strategy to obtain fair compensation.
Understanding Atlanta GA Accident Reports
You should have Atlanta GA accident reports filed every time you are in a motor vehicle collision in The Peach State. The report lists the accident report number, summarizes what the officer observed, and offers critical details.
Keep in mind you need to stay at the accident scene all of the time. A hit and run crime is charged when the driver of a vehicle leaves the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death to another person.
The first page provides specifics about other drivers involved in the crash, their insurance information, and whether a citation was issued. Along with the officer’s description of the accident, the second page may include a diagram to illustrate what happened.
A supplemental crash report allows the officer to provide additional data regarding passengers, other drivers, witnesses, etc. The final page overlooks the Atlanta accident codes, which are difficult for most people to decipher. A qualified attorney can answer any questions you may have.
Understanding Atlanta Accident Codes
The local police department uses special codes from a Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Overlay to help officers accurately and quickly write the reports. Using this tool, the officer codes the report to describe information such as the following:
- Primary event
- Contributing factors
- Maneuvers of the vehicle and other involved parties
- Part of the vehicle affected by the collision
- Roadway conditions
- Travel and traffic flow directions
- Types and severity of injuries
- Vehicle type and class
- Whether the airbag functioned
The Atlanta police department members make every effort to accurately complete the crash report after a collision, which is filed at the central records unit. With the codes and additional information involved, the forms are too complicated for most people to understand.
An attorney with experience dealing with car, truck, and motorcycle accidents will explain the document, help you comprehend which aspects are pertinent to your claim, and provide other valuable information.
Additional Data on Atlanta Traffic Accident Reports
Contributing factors the responding office will include in Atlanta traffic accident reports may consist of the following accident details:
- Driver condition
- Driving too fast for road or weather conditions
- Drunken driving
- Following too closely
- Mechanical failure
- Vehicle condition
- Vision obstructions
Police officers sometimes get it wrong when assessing who is responsible for an accident. An accident report is an intricate and detailed document that becomes more confusing if there is misleading information or mistakes.
With the added complexities, this is especially difficult when commercial trucks are involved. Since an accident report is integral for the insurance companies to determine fault and assign compensation, they must be accurate.
Getting a Copy of Your Car Accident Police Report
To file a claim with the insurance companies or, if necessary, to pursue legal action, you will want a copy of your car accident police report. You can usually find it within a few days at either the local sheriff or police agency, the G.A. State Highway Patrol office, or the BuyCrash website.
The State of Georgia allows you access to a crash report due to the Georgia Open Records Act, O.C.G.A. 50-18-72. You can visit the police department in person and receive a copy for free to make a request.
If you can not go in person, you can submit a request form along with a small fee to the Georgia Department of Public Safety, D.P.S. Open Records Unit, or Georgia State Patrol Post. You will need to provide your name and contact information, including your home address and telephone number, as well as the following:
- Names of everyone involved
- Record you are requesting
- City or county of the accident scene
- Date of the car accident
- Vehicle identification number
- Incident report number if possible
It may take as many as 3 to 5 business days after a motor vehicle accident for the report to be available.
Getting a Car Accident Report Online
You can also conveniently obtain police reports in Georgia on the LexisNexis BuyCrash website.
Start by choosing the state of Georgia. When the service asks why you require a copy of the report, it offers several options. Select the one that applies to your situation the best.
After you submit your request and pay a small fee to access the online report, you can search the database by the driver’s name, whether it was you or another, and the date of the accident.
Are Accident Reports Public Record in Georgia?
Accident reports are public records that anyone can get. But there are limits on what you can do with the information in the report. For example, you may not use it for commercial purposes and share it with other people or business entities.
Additionally, if you intend on using any of the personal information contained in a police report as part of your case against another party involved in the accident, you must first obtain written consent from all parties involved before doing so.
If you have questions about whether or not you can get police records, we recommend talking to a lawyer before you do anything else.
How to Handle Mistakes on an Atlanta Traffic Accidents Report
Once you receive a copy of the Atlanta traffic accidents report, you should get it corrected as quickly as possible if you notice an error. You can only request an adjustment to the report if you were among those at the accident scene. Therefore, your attorney is unable to advocate for it on your behalf.
Provide a statement to the reporting officer to request an amendment to the report. Since insurance agencies use crash reports to determine liability, it’s vital that they accurately reflect the events that occurred and the people who were present.
Although your lawyer can’t request an amendment to the documents, they can advise you on all other matters regarding the wreck.
Consult a Reputable Law Firm After an Atlanta Traffic Accident
If you have been involved in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident in Atlanta, GA, you need the assistance of experienced attorneys to help you understand your situation, as well as your rights and responsibilities.
Consulting a car wreck lawyer in the Atlanta area will provide you with the information and advice you need to proceed with confidence.
The proper law office assesses the evidence to determine who is at fault. Whether dealing with the Atlanta police department, the Georgia Department of Transportation, the insurance company, or the pursuit of a lawsuit, The Orlando Firm is your trusted legal advocate and representative. Contact us by phone call or email today!
The Orlando Firm are your personal injury attorneys with the experience to win.