Car Accidents -
How To Obtain a Copy of a Police Report in Georgia
A car accident can be a messy, confusing experience. It is easy to lose track of what exactly happened, even though that information can be vital later. This is why it is best to make sure a police report is filed, whenever a wreck occurs.
In car accidents, a police report is an unbiased, detailed account of the event. However, you may be unsure how to obtain a copy of the report when you need it. A Georgia car accident lawyer may be your best bet for success, but it is important to know what steps to take. Here is what you need to know about what a report is, why it is important, and what you can do to get a copy when you need it.
When Should I Report a Car Accident?
Though you may not realize it, not every car accident has to be reported to the police. The rule is that if the wreck results in a death, injury, or more than $500 of property damage, you must exchange information and call the police. They will write up a report, and then you are allowed to go on with your day.
While it is not necessary to report a more minor accident, it is never a bad idea. The amount of damage done is not always clear at the scene, both to the drivers and their vehicles. You could be seriously hurt and not know it for some time, but by the time you do, you have no way of even finding the other driver.
Penalties for Failing to Report an Accident to the Police
There are a few possible penalties you could face for neglecting to report your accident. If your crash is severe, it is a crime not to report it. The other driver could claim you had performed a hit-and-run, which is a serious offense. You could have your license revoked, have to pay a fine, or even see jail time.
If the other driver chooses to seek compensation for the damages, you will also have much less evidence to draw from. Considering this would be considered committing a crime, you will have little defense against whatever damages they feel owed. A high-quality car wreck attorney can still help you, but it is best to report the crash as soon as you can, regardless.
How Can a Police Report Help Me?
When a car accident happens, a claim is filed with the insurance providers, and the money should be paid. However, in some cases, a personal injury suit may be required. The insurance agency may not want to pay the proper amount, or the other driver may dispute your claim. There may be a disagreement over who was responsible.
In these cases, a police report is an invaluable piece of evidence. It is a record of what happened at the crash, from an unbiased third party. It is far from the only evidence necessary to win a case, but it is one of the most important.
Filing a Police Report
When you call the police to the scene of an accident, the officer should ask as many questions as possible, to get the clearest account of what occurred. You will want to be concise, and thorough, and hope that the other driver is also being truthful. If you can get any eyewitnesses to testify, all the better.
The officer will file the report within a few days of the car accident. This report should include any evidence found at the accident, their version of events for the crash, and a detailed report of all damage suffered in the accident. This report will then be made available for those involved in the car accident claim to get their own copies.
How to Get Your Copy of a Police Report
While a good law firm will be able to help you get all the documents you may need, you are able to pick up a police report on your own. The steps to do so are not very complicated but can be confusing if you do not know in advance.
Motor vehicle accident lawyers will be able to answer any questions you have, but in the meantime, this guide should provide a solid base.
Identify the Right Police Station
Your first step is to make sure you know the right station. Depending on where the accident occurred, you could be in any number of different jurisdictions. You cannot always base that answer on what town or city you were in, because sometimes even that can be split up.
Be sure to ask the officer at the scene of the crash what station he is filing with, or failing that, call around and find out before seeking out your copy.
Choose Your Method to Receive It
While many people choose to call ahead and pick up the report themselves, there are other methods. You can get it through the mail or order your copy through an online portal. No matter which method you choose, you will typically have to pay a small fee before you are given access to the report.
If you have been talking to an attorney by this point, you can rely on them to obtain the report for you. This is likely the easiest way, and it puts your documents directly into their hands.
Talk with Your Lawyer About Using That Report
In a personal injury case, your lawyer is your best friend. When you have obtained your report, you can work with your lawyer to hammer out the case. If the report supports your version of events, you will have a much easier time negotiating, and arguing in court should it come to that.
What If the Police Report Says I Am Partly at Fault?
Even if you were partly at fault for your car accident, under Georgia law, you can still file a car accident suit. The fault is determined by percentage, and anything beneath 49% gives you the right to pursue compensation. Your overall settlement may be lower, but you are not out of luck by any means.
Fault can be a little complicated, so it is best to let your car accident attorney help you through that. They can help you determine who is liable and by how much, so that you will have a proper idea of what you are eligible for, as far as damages go.
What to Expect When Pursuing a Police Report
It is important to remember that your report may not be ready or available immediately, so you may have to be patient. You should also expect to pay a fee to get your copy.
Fortunately, you can also expect to get answers about the details of your case. Once you have your copy of the report, you and your attorney can use that to your advantage.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?
A car accident lawyer is your best friend in a personal injury case, handling every step of the process for you. They help gather evidence, build your case, negotiate with the opposition and the insurance companies, and represent you in court should the need arise. Obtaining your police report is an easy thing, with a car crash attorney on your side.
No matter what legal documents you need, your legal advocate has your back. We will even prepare and file them on your behalf. A car accident case can be overwhelming, but only if you choose to face it alone.
Make the Most of Your Evidence with a Black-Owned Georgia Car Accident Law Firm
If you have been in a car accident, your best hope for recovery is to seek the services of a skilled car accident lawyer. Whatever documents or other evidence you have, they can help you use it for the best possible outcome.
T. Madden and Associates, PC is an experienced firm dedicated to helping Georgia citizens in need. No matter your situation, they will do their best to get you the compensation you deserve. Police reports or any other relevant documents are nothing to worry about if you reach out today by calling or filling out our online contact form.Back to Blog