If injured in an accident that was the fault of someone else, it’s important to contact the police. When they respond to the accident, a car accident police report will be completed. The information contained in this could be invaluable to a car accident case, so it’s important to know how to get a copy.
How to Obtain a Car Accident Police Report after a Crash
One critical piece of proof for a car accident claim is the car accident police report. Obtaining this report depends on who investigated the accident. If it was the Georgia State Patrol who responded, the individual can contact the Open Records Unit or a local State Patrol Post.
All other types of crash reports can be obtained through the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Crash Reporting Unit. Online crash reports can be obtained quickly for a fee (starting at $5). A variety of search options are available to aid in finding the car accident police report —such as the person’s name, VIN, road where the accident occurred and date of crash.
It’s important to note that according to Georgia’s Open Records Act, motor vehicle accident reports aren’t open to the public. However, if someone’s name is contained in the report, such as the other driver or witnesses, upon submitting a written request they can also get a copy.
Importance of a Police Report in a Car Accident Case
These reports can provide valuable information. For instance, if someone was injured in the crash and wasn’t able to get contact information from witnesses, this may be included in the report. But a police report can also be very helpful in determining accident liability.
It will contain various details and statements from others. It may indicate the extent of vehicle damage and who was injured. Many times a police officer can piece together what likely occurred and may even issue a citation. If so, this would also be noted in the police report. Oftentimes it includes a summary of what the police officer believes caused the accident and who was at fault.
Although it can carry a lot of weight in determining fault, this doesn’t mean that every police report is completely accurate. It’s possible that important facts were missed or some type of mistake was made in it. For instance, the officer wrote down the injured person’s account but it wasn’t worded correctly. Or there could be a dispute regarding facts, such as a witness providing a statement that is very different than what the injured person saw happen.
Let’s say the accident occurred at the intersection of Georgia State Bicycle Route 45 and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive SW. A witness tells the police officer that the other driver entered the intersection when the light was still green. But you saw the light was red. Although the report usually can’t be changed, it’s important the injured person write up his/her own account of what happened and have that included.
Police reports are important to an accident case. At the same time, they aren’t necessarily the deciding factor. It would be especially critical to seek legal counsel if someone was seriously injured in a crash and there is a dispute concerning what’s contained in the car accident police report.
If you’ve been in a serious car accident in Atlanta and want to know more about filing a claim, request personal injury lawyer Jason Schulz free eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia – The Truth about Your Injury Case.