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By Jarome Gautreaux

If you find yourself involved in an accident in Georgia, getting a police report can be beneficial for various reasons. There is a legal requirement in Georgia that you report any traffic accident involving death, injury, or property damage exceeding $500 to local law enforcement immediately. Failing to report such accidents can result in penalties. A police report provides an official record of the incident, detailing the date, time, location, and conditions under which the accident occurred. This can be crucial in resolving disputes about the facts of the accident.

In addition, insurance companies often require a copy of the police report to process claims. The report contains information that helps insurers determine liability and coverage and can provide crucial evidence if the accident leads to legal action. For example, it might include the officer’s observation and any citations issued, which can be crucial in court.

Since the involved parties might have differing opinions on what happened at the scene of an accident, a police report offers an unbiased third-party account that can help resolve these differences.

Considerations When Requesting A Police Report After An Accident

However, there are also specific considerations to remember when requesting a police report after an accident. Some personal information will be included in the police report, which may be accessible to the public. Be aware that police reports can contain errors so it is essential to review the report and ensure it accurately reflects the incident. Lastly, remember that waiting for police to arrive and complete a report can be time-consuming, especially for minor accidents.

Despite these considerations, obtaining a police report is generally advisable after an accident in Georgia, especially if there are injuries, significant property damage, or any dispute about the events. If you are involved in a minor incident with no injuries and minimal damage, you and the other party might choose to handle it privately, but this approach has its risks. Consider the legal requirements and potential needs for documentation when deciding whether to file a report.

Steps Involved In Obtaining A Police Report  After An Accident

  • At the Scene of the Accident: Ensure you report the accident to the police immediately. The responding officer will investigate the scene and file a report.
  • Obtaining the Report Number: At the accident scene, the police officer should provide you with a receipt or reference number for the police report. This number is crucial for retrieving the report later.
  • Waiting Period: There is usually a waiting period before the report is available. This can range from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the police department’s processing times.
  • Contacting the Local Police Department: If a city or local police department handled the accident, contact that department for the report. You can visit in person or check the department’s website—many police departments have an online portal for report requests.
  • Contacting the Georgia State Patrol (GSP): If the GSP investigated the accident, you can request the report from the Georgia Department of Public Safety. This can be done online through the GSP’s website or by visiting a GSP office in person.
  • Requesting the Report: When requesting the report, be prepared to provide your personal information, the report number, the accident date, and the location. There may be a fee involved, which varies by department.
  • Reviewing the Report: Once you obtain it, review it for accuracy. The report will contain information about the parties involved, witness statements, the officer’s findings, and any citations.
  • Follow-up: If you find any discrepancies or errors in the report, contact the police department to discuss them. It’s vital that the report accurately reflects the accident details.
  • Using the Report: You can use the police report to file an insurance claim. Insurance companies often require a copy of the police report to process claims related to car accidents.

Each step is essential to ensure you obtain the police report promptly and efficiently. Remember that having a detailed and accurate police report can be critical for insurance claims, legal issues, and personal records.

The Takeaway

Taking the correct steps to obtain an accident report if you have been in an accident might be legally required depending on the circumstances of the accident. Even if not needed, some considerations might make obtaining this report beneficial. If you have trouble getting a copy of the report or if legal issues arise from the accident, consider consulting with an attorney familiar with Georgia’s traffic laws and procedures. Gautreaux Law has dedicated, experienced personal injury attorneys who can help you understand the laws and procedures and help protect your rights if you have been involved in an accident.

About the Author
Jarome Gautreaux is a personal injury trial lawyer. He represents people who have been seriously injured, as well as the families of people killed because of carelessness or negligence. For over 20 years, he has successfully recovered more than 100 million dollars in a variety of Macon personal injury cases. Jarome’s reputation for client focus and case success has led to other lawyers requesting his assistance with complex personal injury litigation. What drives Jarome every day is his strong belief that the amount of money someone has should not dictate the justice they receive. It is for this reason that he has never worked for corporations, insurance companies, or other interest groups. Instead, he thrives on helping the people who need it most- people who have suffered at the hands of others and deserve compensation.