How to read a Georgia car accident report

It’s perfectly normal to remain a little shaky after getting into a car crash. There’s a lot going on, in addition to the shock of the damage to your vehicle. Hopefully, though, everyone is alright, and you’re able to stay focused on the steps you should take after a car accident while on the scene.

Once all that’s over though, there’s plenty of follow-up that takes place. Dealing with insurance companies and finding legal representation if necessary are the two that most often come to mind, but there’s one other thing that’s vital — making sure the car accident report is correct.

Understanding a car accident report ensures your crash is properly documented, which in turn helps establish fault, and makes it easier for insurance companies to handle things like they should.

What is a Georgia car accident report?

Also known as an incident report, a car accident report in Georgia is filled out by the police officer (or officers) who come to the scene of the accident. They’re documenting what happened for the official record.

Police should be on the scene of your car crash since Georgia law requires you call 911 to report a car accident when:

  • Anyone involved has been hurt or killed
  • Property damage exceeds $500
  • A report is required for submission to an insurance company

Since you should always submit a report to your insurance company, and it’s pretty easy to do $500 in damage to your car (unfortunately), you’ll most likely need to call 911 for any car crash you’re in.

The codes make it confusing

As with most legal documents, there is a language to a car accident report that’s all its own. The hardest part to interpret are the codes used on the report. The most important are those that assign blame and break down the factors that may have contributed to the accident happening. Codes within the sections for ‘driver condition’ and ‘vision obscured by’ are two areas to look closely at. The officer may code the driver condition as an 8, but that means nothing to you unless you know the 8 means you apparently fell asleep while driving.

Another section for ‘contributing factors’ is also important to review. Here, the officer on the scene will establish what caused the accident. Based on this decision, the accident could quickly become your fault. But, officers don’t always get it right, which is why you must check their work.

Why do I need it?

There are a variety of legal and personal reasons you could use to make a car accident report necessary. They’re very helpful when figuring out property damage and medical concerns, and can make it easier to argue for the financial compensation you deserve.

Should your claim for damages go to court, the car accident report contains official documentation of almost all the important details of your accident. Even if you can’t bring it to court, having that information on hand can make it easier for you to recall the specifics of your crash. It also helps your lawyer effectively advocate for you.

How do I get my car accident report?

It takes a few days for your car crash report to be ready. Once complete, a copy of your car accident report is made available by the local police department that was on the scene of the accident. You can contact them directly, but will need to provide:

  • Your name
  • Your vehicle identification number
  • The date, time, and location of the accident

You also may be able to find the report through the Georgia State Highway Patrol by reaching out to the office nearest to the accident scene or by completing a request for this information online through the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s website.

BuyCrash.com is another great way to get a copy of your report. They contract with the Georgia Department of Transportation to make it easy for you to access this important document.

If you have a lawyer, they can also request a copy of this report on your behalf.

How to make a car accident report easier to read

Since insurance companies take these reports very seriously when evaluating your accident, you need to be able to quickly spot mistakes or misleading information. Knowing how to read the car accident report yourself is a great place to start, but legal representation might make the process easier.

If you’re involved in a car crash, and are concerned about the details in the report, contact the legal team at Nicholson, Silverbach, & Watson. We focus on getting those who’ve suffered a personal injury the compensation they deserve. Our personalized approach means we take over the fight for what’s yours so you can focus on healing. Contact us today for a no-commitment, free consultation.

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We want to connect with you and help you during this challenging time. If it’s more convenient to communicate via email, please reach out to us at info@nsw.law.