If you have suffered an accident in Atlanta, GA, you may be entitled to compensatory damages. Such damages are typically recoverable when the other driver is at fault. However, you need evidence to back up your claim for damages. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you bring together this evidence.
A central piece of evidence in a car crash claim is the police report. This report is typically filed on the scene of the crash. And it is filed only when a crash is reported and documented by the authorities. For this and several other reasons, it is vitally important that you report a crash when you are involved in one.
Legal Requirements for Reporting Accidents
Every state has laws that legally require the parties involved in a crash to report the accident if certain conditions are met. Georgia also has laws in place, as defined in Georgia Code Title 40 Chapter 9, which dictate that an accident must be reported when:
- It involves property damage exceeding $500
- It involves injury to another person, or someone dies in the crash
- Your auto insurance policy requires that you report the crash
If any of these conditions are met, you must report the accident. In the case of the first two conditions, failure to report a crash can put you on the wrong side of the law. Such failure may be construed as criminal negligence and you may have to face legal penalties for it.
Failure to report a crash can also have a direct bearing on your claim to damages for any losses sustained in the crash. If you file the claim with your insurer, the insurer may refuse to acknowledge that the crash occurred as no evidence exists. Likewise, a third-party insurer may also turn down your damages claim citing that a police report for the crash doesn’t exist.
Sometimes, law enforcement officers may fail to respond to a crash scene. In such a situation, you can go to the nearest police station in person and report the crash. Alternatively, you can use online crash reporting forms on the websites of local, county, or state authorities. These forms can be used to provide the crash details.
Police Crash Reports
One of the most convenient ways of reporting a crash is by calling 911. When you do so in the wake of a car, make sure you identify the precise location of the accident. This allows law enforcement officers from local or state agencies to reach your location without wasting any time.
Once the officers are on the scene, they will typically ask you for your name, address, contact information, insurance details, license details, and other information. The officers will also ask you questions about how the crash occurred. At this point, it is important that you stick to the facts of the crash and avoid giving any opinions.
After completing a preliminary investigation, the responding officers then compile a police report. This report is a critically important piece of evidence. Although you can’t produce it as formal evidence in a court of law, the report still plays an important role in determining how your claims plays out with the insurance company.
Getting a Copy of the Police Report
Once you have reported an accident, a police report is filed. Such a report may be filed by the state, county, or local authorities. For Atlanta crashes, the crash report is typically filed by one of the following:
- Atlanta Police Department. To obtain a copy of a report filed by APD, you will need to get in touch with the Atlanta PD Central Records Unit.
- Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. Fulton County Sheriff’s Office has a separate page where you can apply for copies of crash reports.
- Georgia Highway Patrol. For the reports filed by GHP, you can use this Georgia Department of Transportation link to obtain copies.
How Can an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Help?
If you have been involved in an Atlanta car accident and suffered injuries or other losses, it is important to get legal representation. Here at the Greene Legal Group, we are committed to helping crash victims recover the full amount of compensation for their losses.
Our lawyers work with you to assess your crash claim, gather the relevant evidence, file the claim, and negotiate with insurers on your behalf. Our ultimate aim is to ensure that you receive a fair settlement that fully covers your crash-related losses. Call us today to book a free session with our lawyers.