Yes, car accident reports in Georgia are public record. However, this does not mean that it is easily accessible or available to anyone.
Car accidents are unfortunate and often traumatic events. It can be helpful to know what steps you should take if you are involved in a car accident. Below, learn more about Georgia’s laws for reporting car accidents. We will also tell you how to access car accident records and which records are considered public and available for request.
Georgia Laws for Car Accident Reporting
Accidents can be more common in metro areas due to increased traffic and population density. Under Georgia law, you must report any car accident that results in injury or death. You also need to report an accident resulting in significant property damage, generally $500 or more.
It is a good idea to report any accident in many cases, even if there are no injuries or damages. This allows you to protect yourself from the other party making claims against you.
Filing a Police Report
Your first step in reporting an accident should be to call the local police. If you are unsure which police or sheriff’s department has jurisdiction at the accident scene, you can call 9-1-1.
When filing a police report, you must give a thorough and honest description of the accident, including when and where it occurred. Proper reporting of damages and injuries can help you prove your case regarding an insurance claim or lawsuit. Honesty and transparency will help create a fact-based police report to insurance companies.
Benefits of a Police Report for a Car Accident
After a car accident and speaking with the police, the police will create a report. This report can help protect citizens from future lawsuits and insurance claims. Police reports provide several benefits, including:
- Descriptions of citations or violations of the law
- Individual opinions as to the reasons for the accident
- Determination of liable party
- An official determination of the cause of the accident
- Statements from witnesses and involved parties
- A detailed, honest description of the accident, including time, date, and location
- Save all evidence, including photos and torn clothes, etc.
Though not all aspects of a police report are fully factual, and some may be opinions, a police report can be an invaluable tool in the courtroom or with an insurance claim. Without a police report, a compensation case can be hard to prove.
Once your police report is created, you may be curious if that accident report is considered a public record. It is considered a public record, yes. However, it is not always easily accessible.
Georgia Procedures for Accessing Car Accident Reports
Georgia’s Law Enforcement and Open Records Act allows Georgians to access many kinds of public records and documentation. Motor vehicle accident reports are covered under this act.
However, it is not always simple to access these public records. To view a car accident report, a person must submit an official request. The person requesting it must want it for a legitimate reason.
To access car accident reports and many other kinds of records, a citizen must submit a “written statement of need.” If you feel overwhelmed by this kind of process, our attorneys can guide you through the process of claiming your records.
Who Can Submit a Car Accident Report Request?
Many parties may want to access a car accident report, such as:
- People who have personal or business relationships with a party involved in the accident
- People who own (or previously owned) property that was potentially damaged in the accident
- Government agencies
- People who were injured in the accident
While it makes sense that many of these parties may want access to this report, not all requests are accepted. Requests are evaluated to determine whether there is a legitimate need to access the report. If a request is deemed illegitimate, that party will not gain access to the accident report. Most requests are either granted or denied within three business days.
The Georgia Sink, P.A., Injury Lawyers Are on Your Side
Being involved in a car accident can be overwhelming, but accessing your car accident report should not be. If you are concerned about protecting your legal rights after a car accident, contact Georgia Sink, P.A., Injury Lawyers, and receive a free consultation.
Call (843) 779-1777, so we can get started. Our car accident lawyers are on your side.