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How to Read a Car Accident Report
If you’re in a car wreck in Atlanta, the accident report is an important part of your claim. Find out how to read it from Do Law Office.
Georgia Car Accident Reports
A serious motor vehicle accident is traumatic, whether it involves a car, truck, motorcycle, or commercial vehicle. If an accident happened, getting a copy of the Georgia motor vehicle accident report is important. A Georgia car accident can be challenging to understand because accident report writers often use symbols, abbreviations, and numbers to convey a lot of information in very little space.
After an accident is reported to the police, investigating officers go to the scene and interview the people involved in the accident and witnesses. Then the officer drafts a report of the accident using that information.
Car accident reports provide information in the same format and a pictorial diagram regardless of where your accident occurred. While Georgia accident reports provide a detailed account of an accident and other essential information regarding the accident, they can be a bit overwhelming. To fully understand what is at stake, you may need to employ the services of an experienced car crash attorney.
Vehicle Accident Reporting Procedure
Georgia law requires you to immediately report any accident involving injury, death, and property damage to the police. Reporting an accident is essential even if you do not sustain a personal injury or property damage.
You should report accidents in cities to the police immediately. Contact the sheriff or state troopers if the accident occurs outside a city, town, or other municipality. If you are not sure who to call, contact 911.
Honestly is the best policy. Provide accurate information about the type of accident, its date, and its location when filing a police report. Otherwise, any dishonest answer can affect your ability to recover money from your injuries in later litigation.
Within two days of an accident, drivers need to contact Net Claim. Net Claim will provide a 9-digit claim number to identify their accident report once it has been written.
Drivers must report the Net Claim number to the Office of Assets and Property Management-Fleet Operations along with all accident-related information. Fleet Operations will monitor the repair progress until the vehicle is fixed.
Information That Is Found on a Car Accident Report
There are 21 categories on an accident report in Georgia. These include identification of the parties and the vehicles involved, road conditions, what direction vehicles were traveling, whether cars or people were injured, and the point of impact for the accident. Each of these categories is considered among the contributing circumstances to the accident. Your case may not fit all categories. Here are some common examples:
If the driver is found with a BAC of 0.08% or tests positive for drugs, the officer can note the results and what was tested to obtain the positive test, such as the driver’s blood or urine. A positive drug or alcohol test can also result in civil liability.
It is important to exchange insurance information with the other drivers involved in the accident. Obtaining the correct information regarding insurance companies is necessary to file a claim.
If you hire a car accident lawyer, they can send the insurance companies a letter demanding payment known as a 33-3-28 letter. A lawyer experienced with auto accidents can also centrally help you negotiate with insurance companies and any insurance adjuster to obtain a fair settlement.
This section of the accident report details whether a driver had obscured vision at the time of the accident and what blocked the person’s view. Examples include a parked car and poor weather conditions like heavy rain. The investigating police officer may need to conduct further investigations after the accident to determine whether the driver’s vision was impaired.
One of the parties may be liable if this section shows whether the movement or lack of movement of one of the vehicles contributed to the accident at the time of impact.
Some of the 42 possible causes of an accident listed in a Georgia accident report include:
- Distracted driving like talking on a cell phone or eating while driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or prescription medication
- Road defects that can cause the vehicle to lose control
- Mechanical problems like brake failure
Listed here are the size and speed of the car at the time of the accident and the area’s speed limit. This can help determine if a driver was traveling at an unsafe speed at the time of the accident.
If the police officer suspects road conditions contributed to the accident, they may mention water, sand, a slick surface, or holes. This section of the accident report may also note if the road was curvy or straight.
Unfairly, the severity of an injury is often based on property damage. The damage to the vehicle and the people in the vehicle can often be drastically different.
The officer makes an objective judgment to determine the category of damage. These are:
- No damage
- Minor damage
- Functional damage
- Disabling damage
If you are injured in an accident, a qualified attorney can help you explain your injuries and how the accident occurred.
The pictorial diagram on the accident report page depicts what the investigating officer believes happened, not necessarily what actually occurred.
In the event of an accident, write down the contact information of witnesses. They may be able to provide valuable testimony in the future.
Evaluate a Georgia Car Accident Report
You can verify most accident report information. Verifying the information in an accident report is essential because police officers may give incorrect information on accident reports. Police often misidentify the drivers and the vehicles involved, misspell names, and get dates wrong. If you spot any errors, you can request the police officers to correct their mistakes.
How to Correct an Incorrect Accident Report?
Factual errors are the easiest to correct. If you have evidence of the correct information, you can probably have the investigating police officer change the accident report. Sometimes an investigating officer can make a transcription error or leave an important fact out. Police officers often take notes at the accident scene, and it’s possible they made certain mistakes.
However, the officer’s wrong opinion could potentially affect future litigation. For example, if you don’t agree with subjective information in the crash report, such as the police officer’s conclusions, or a witness statement, it may be hard to correct it and set the record straight without the help of an experienced attorney. Consult a trustworthy attorney for car accidents to help you evaluate the report.
Getting a Police Report for a Car Accident
The Georgia Open Records Act (ORA) allows anyone to request a traffic crash report in Georgia. You can make an open records request for the traffic report to a local police station or the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Open Records Unit.
A citizen can request copies of state agencies’ records, and they can view the records for a fee. Officers must respond to this request within three business days. Obtaining the report will also require knowing which police department responded to the accident.
When making the request, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your name
- Phone number
- People and vehicles involved in the accident
- The record being asked for
- Georgia city or county of the accident
- The date of the accident
Experienced Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident law firm with experience evaluating auto accident reports can help victims of car accidents understand accident reports. We can help you correct any errors and file injury claims, negotiate with your insurance company and we can represent you in court if necessary. Contact the Do Law Office today.
4500 Satellite Blvd.
Duluth, GA 30096
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