No matter how careful you are, you can still become involved in a motor vehicle accident. And as the population in many urban areas in Georgia, such as Atlanta, continues to grow, so do your chances of being involved in a crash.
Knowing what to do at the scene of an accident can take away some of the stress and uncertainty. After you have called the police and exchanged contact information and insurance information with the other driver, you need to become familiar with the basics of Georgia car accident reports.
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How To File a Car Crash Report in Georgia
This chart provides a summary of Georgia's laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Do the Police Always File an Accident Report?
Georgia law defines an "accident" as the collision of any motor vehicle with another vehicle or object, the involvement of a motor vehicle in any manner where a person is killed or injured, or where a person suffers more than $500 in property damage. You must report the accident to the local police department if it occurred in town. If it occurred outside of town, you must report it to the state patrol (highway patrol).
It is the Department of Public Safety's policy that a law enforcement officer will immediately respond to the scene when notified of a car crash. The police officer will complete a crash report if there is apparent property damage of $500 or more, injury to any person, or when requested by either driver. A copy of the motor vehicle accident report can be purchased directly from the Georgia Department of Transportation with the report number. You can also pick up your report for free at your local police station's records unit.
Completing a Personal Accident Report in Georgia
Since Georgia law encourages all drivers to call 911 immediately after a crash occurs, there are no other reporting requirements. The Georgia Department of Driver's Services encourages drivers involved in an accident to fill out the Personal Report of Accident form. Although this incident report is not to be filed with the police or any state agency, it is a good tool for recording the essential information about a crash. You may also be able to provide this report to your insurance company.
Georgia Accident Reports Cannot Be Used in Court
You may be concerned that if you file an accident report it could be used against you if you get a citation and the claim goes to court. However, the law is clear on this point. Accident reports filed with the Department of Transportation, any action taken by the Department of Driver Services, and the findings of the department upon which such action is based cannot be used as evidence of negligence (or lack of negligence) in any action to recover damages.
Questions About Georgia Car Accident Reports? Speak To a Lawyer
Georgia is a "fault" car insurance state. This can lead to a lot of finger-pointing when it comes time to assign blame for the accident. If you're involved in a crash that caused physical injuries or serious property damage, it's in your best interest to speak with an experienced car accident attorney in Georgia. Your car accident lawyer through your attorney-client relationship can help you navigate the claim process and ensure a fair settlement is reached. Many law firms with personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation.