When you get into a car accident, your priority should be your injuries and your…
Were you in a car accident in the State of Georgia and need to obtain a copy of your car accident report? This is a commonly requested document if you’re planning on filing a lawsuit against the other driver. Everything you need to know will be detailed below to make the process of obtaining Georgia accident reports as easy as possible.
Nathan Fitzpatrick is an experienced and skilled car accident lawyer working out of Atlanta. In this article, he’ll discuss how to get a copy of your Georgia car accident report, along with several other pertinent details you’ll need to know.
The Importance of Georgia Accident Reports in Insurance Claims and Legal Proceedings
An accident report, also known as a traffic crash report, provides a detailed and unbiased account of the incident. holds significant importance in insurance claims and legal proceedings in Georgia, as they serve as crucial evidence when determining liability and fault. This report is always a police report that Georgia insurance companies require. Insurance companies and courts rely on these police reports to assess the extent of damages and ensure a fair and just resolution for all parties involved.
The Role of Accident Reports in Determining Fault and Liability
Despite the fact that you can technically write up your own report if the damage is estimated at below $500, you’ll really want to go ahead and contact the police. Otherwise, you’ll be missing a crucial piece of evidence when it’s time to go to court. The judge is aware that a police report tends to be much more reliable than your memories, so be sure to get an official report. It will help determine who was truly at fault and by what percentage.
Completing a Personal Accident Report in Georgia
Filing a personal accident report in Georgia is mandated by law, urging drivers to promptly dial 911 in the event of a collision, with no additional reporting obligations. The Georgia Department of Driver's Services promotes the completion of the Personal Report of Accident form for drivers who have been part of an accident.
Obtaining Your Georgia Accident Report
To acquire an official traffic crash report, it is essential to follow Georgia law, which outlines the eligible individuals who can obtain this type of open records request. For more information on accessing these records under Georgia's Open Records Act, refer to O.C.G.A. Section 50-18-72 (a)(5) by clicking the provided link. Your car accident attorney can also get a copy of the crash report for you.
If the accident was investigated by the Georgia Highway Patrol, contacting a local State Patrol Post or the Open Records Unit will facilitate the process of obtaining the report.
Overview of the Georgia Department of Public Saftey and its Role in Accident Reports
The Georgia Department of Public Safety first began in 1937. Their job is to oversee the daily operations of the Georgia State Police, Motor Carrier Compliance Division, and the Capitol Police. This includes making police reports available online through a third-party vendor.
Required Information to Access the Report
To do an open records request for your crash report, you will generally need to provide some basic details, including your name, address, telephone number, people involved, the date the crash happened, where the accident took place, and—in some cases—your vehicle identification number (VIN). You will also need to include the incident report number if it's known to you.
Online Method: Requesting Your Accident Report
You have the right to order your police report online. There will be a small fee ($5) for each copy of the report you’re requesting. Be aware that the government does not own the website you can order a copy from. Instead, it’s a private service that buycrash.com offers.
Alternatively, you could have your car accident lawyer handle getting a copy. This will be a simple process for them, especially as they typically have a legal assistant to take care of everything.
Offline Method: Requesting Your Accident Report
You can get your police report at your local Georgia law enforcement agency. In most cases, you’ll need to go to the Records Unit at this local police department. It may be in your best interests to call the department first to make sure this is where you need to go, along with where the Records Unit is located and what its hours are. You must go to the police department that handled your accident, regardless of where it is located. The fee will be $5 per copy.
Requesting Your Police Report by Mail
Go to the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s website and download an Open Records request form. Fill the entire thing out and mail it to the address listed on the top of the form. Don’t forget to include a check or money order for $5.
Visiting the Georgia Department of Public Safety in Person
You can visit the Georgia Department of Public Safety by going to 959 United Avenue S.E. in Atlanta from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. It may be beneficial to call (404) 624-7700 first to ensure they have what you’re looking for before you make the trip.
Necessary Documents and Identification to Bring
You’ll need to bring your Georgia driver’s license, along with any information you have regarding the accident (the date of your crash, where the accident took place, and—in some cases—your VIN).
Frequently Asked Georgia Car Accident Report Questions
Now that we’ve looked at the most important aspects of getting a police report let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions.
Are car accident reports public record in Georgia?
Yes, your car accident report is considered to be a public record in the State of Georgia.
Can someone else request my accident report on my behalf?
Yes, but they’ll need to get your signature on the Motor Vehicle Request Form. It’s also necessary for them to have:
- Your full name
- Date of birth
- Georgia driver’s license number
- Their driver’s license or state ID
How long does it take to receive the accident report?
It typically takes between three and five days for an accident report to become available. Once it is, you can pick one up in person, and you’ll receive it on the same day.
What if there are errors or missing information in the accident report?
If you discover that the report has missing details or contains errors, contact the officer who wrote it. You can file an amended statement to correct the issue. Your attorney can also do this for you.
How long are accident reports kept on record?
Your insurance company has to keep your crash report as part of your insurance file for two years. Meanwhile, the State of Georgia will typically retain records related to your accident report for three years.
If You've Been Involved In a Car Accident, Receive a Complementary Case Review From The Fitzpatrick Firm
A motor vehicle accident can change your entire life, and not for the better. Whether you have serious car damage or become injured as a result of the car incident, it’s always in your best interests to contact an experienced car accident attorney.
The Fitzpatrick Firm is uniquely well-suited to assist you with your case. Attorney Fitzpatrick was recognized as one of The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and he and his team will put their skills and expertise to work for you! Contact us today for a free consultation. We look forward to talking with you about your case!