A police report is a necessary part of a car crash claim. When you are involved in a car accident in Atlanta, you may suffer losses ranging from mild to severe. These losses typically include personal injury and property damage. If another driver’s fault caused the crash, you can seek compensatory damages from the at-fault driver. However, you will first need to prove that the other driver’s negligence caused the accident. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you gather the evidence to prove your claim.
In general, the more evidence you have backing up your claim for damages, the greater are your odds of success. A central piece of evidence in car accident claims is the police report. Here is a look at exactly what this report is, and what role it plays in negotiations surrounding car accident claims.
What Is a Police Report?
Under Georgia Code Section 40-6-273, you are required to report a car accident if:
- The accident results in injuries to one or more persons
- The accident results in the death of one or more persons
- The total apparent property damage from the accident is $500 or more
Once you report a car accident that meets these requirements, law enforcement officers typically arrive on the scene. These officers can be from the local city police department, the county sheriff’s office, or the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The officers that arrive on the scene then proceed to take stock of the on-site evidence. They speak to all the parties involved, take statements of eyewitnesses, and note down other details. The responding officers then compile a police report which is a kind of a summary of the incident. The report also contains the opinions of the officer.
Importance of Police Report
The police report filed by an investigating officer at the scene of the accident is important for a number of reasons. Here is a look at these.
Putting the Crash On The Record
A police report puts a car accident on the record. It is proof that the crash actually occurred and that you actually suffered losses in the crash. If you fail to report an accident and no police report is filed, the insurance company may simply claim that the crash didn’t occur at all.
Useful Information About the Crash
You may or may not be able to collect important information on the scene after suffering an accident. The good news is that a police report contains a treasure-trove of useful information related to the crash.
This includes identification and statements of all the parties involved, details about witnesses and their statements, time, date, and location of the crash, any traffic violations involved, and so on. You can later get a copy of the report and get all these details for use in your car crash claim.
Negotiations With the Insurer
A police report doesn’t typically name an at-fault party. However, the report does point out what traffic violations were involved and who committed these violations. This, and other details from the report, can be used to prove that a given party was at fault.
When you file a claim for damages, you can cite the police report to support the claim. If the report’s facts corroborate your version of how the crash occurred, the insurer is more likely to settle your claim.
In a car crash involving significant losses, accident reconstruction is done to see how the crash actually occurred. Reconstruction experts may be consulted by law enforcement agencies, insurers, courts, or you as a plaintiff in a car crash claim.
When there is sufficient evidence for an accident, negligence is clearer, and liability is established more easily. However, in the absence of compelling evidence, accident reconstruction may be needed. A police report can be very effective in helping an expert draw an overview of how the crash actually took place.
Obtaining the Police Report
As a plaintiff in a car crash claim, you will need to apply for a copy of the police report. To do this, you will first need to identify who filed the report in the first place. For an Atlanta accident, the police report can be filed by:
- Atlanta Police Department
- Fulton County Sheriff’s Office
- DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office
- Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
Once you have identified who filed the report, you can visit the agency’s nearest office or get in touch via email. You will be asked to prove that you were a party to the crash before you are provided the copy.
How Can an Atlanta Car Crash Lawyer Help?
If you have been injured in an accident in Atlanta, Georgia, we can help you. Here at the Greene Legal Group, we help you get the police report at the earliest and use the report to support your claim. We also negotiate with the insurers on your behalf to seek the maximum settlement amount for your crash-related losses. Get in touch with us now to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.