A Guide to A Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident ReportA serious auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or commercial vehicle accident is a traumatic and tumultuous experience. Once the dust settles though, you will need to obtain a copy of the Georgia motor vehicle accident report from the jurisdictional precinct of the reporting officer. A Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Report can be confusing. The police officers who draft accident reports are trained to use arcane symbols, coded words and numbers to convey a multitude of information in just a couple of pages. These reports are designed to provide a data record in a standard format — not to be an easy-to-read diagram for a layperson. Despite what can appear to be an overwhelming and confusing task, most Georgia accident reports provide a reasonably comprehensive story of what happened in a car accident. One just needs to know where to look. Typically, in Georgia, a police officer arrives on the scene after an accident has been reported and speaks with all the parties involved about their version of events. He or she may speak with witnesses if there are any, and then draft up a Georgia accident report from all the information he has gathered. You are not allowed to look over the officer’s shoulder while the Georgia accident report is being drafted. Most often, Georgia accident reports are available within 5-7 business days after the accident. The reports are available at the police department or through a third-party website (such as BuyCrash.com) for purchase. Once you have the Georgia accident report in hand, you will need to check it for accuracy. But first, it’s helpful to know what exactly you are looking at.
Sections of a Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Report
Page 1, Part 1The top boxes give some basic information about the accident. The most important box is the top left, which is the report number. The police officer should give this number to all parties at the time of the accident. This is how you will find the completed report once it is ready. The next boxes list information such as date of incident, location, time, and whether or not this is the original accident report or a supplemental report. Should you need to alter any information on the accident report, the police officer will typically note that this has occurred. The top boxes typically are not something that gets a lot of disagreements.
Page 1, Part 2The next section of your Georgia accident report lists all the parties involved. The information includes the following:
- Names of drivers
- Addresses of drivers
- Phone numbers of drivers
- Insurance information on vehicles
- Vehicle information (things like year, make, model, VIN, and owner’s name and information if different than the driver)
Page 1, Part 3The next section of the accident report would be the “contributing factors” — in other words, what caused the accident.
Contributing Factors to Consider
- Speed of the vehicles at the time of impact
- Direction of travel
- Travel flow
- Roadway conditions
- Vehicle maneuvers (were drivers moving or stopped)
- Vision obscured (maybe by signs or roadway debris)
- Vehicle type (passenger or commercial)
- Number of occupants in the car
- Area of contact
- Damage to vehicle
Page 2The second page of the accident report is just as important as the first page. The sections of this page include:
- The narrative of the accident
- A diagram of what happened during the accident
- Citations issued
- List of the vehicle occupants
Who fills out an accident report in Georgia?If a death results from a motor vehicle accident, then in addition to the standard accident report, a specialized team with advanced training in accidents resulting in death is sent to investigate. In larger jurisdictions, such as Atlanta, this may be a team employed by the local law enforcement departments. If you have lost a loved on in a car accident, please contact one of our compassionate Duluth wrongful death lawyers. On Georgia and federal highways and in rural jurisdictions (which do not have certified teams in-house), the Georgia State Patrol will send a Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT). These SCRT teams consist of highly trained law enforcement technicians who are experts in performing forensic accident investigations. SCRT teams produce sophisticated reports that are often used in criminal prosecutions for vehicular homicide and are available in civil cases through the Georgia Open Records Act. There are 5 separate SCRT teams located throughout the state that can respond quickly in all regions.
What if there’s an error or mistake in the Georgia motor vehicle accident report?Police officers are human and make mistakes. Uncorrected mistakes can become part of the permanent record. If you see a mistake in the accident report, you should try to get it corrected as soon as possible. You should understand upfront, however, that this can be a real hassle. Officers are very busy and memories fade over time. An officer writes so many of these reports, he or she may not remember your accident, or they may confuse your accident with a different wreck. It’s very possible that a mistake made on a report can become a “fact” if the officer doesn’t correct the document while it is fresh in his mind. Insurance adjusters generally follow what they read on the accident report. If it’s wrong, you could be denied compensation for not only your property damages but also your personal injury. If you have a question about an accident report, or you think it is inaccurate, you should act quickly by contacting our experienced accident attorneys. Time is of the essence.
How Our Duluth Car Accident Attorneys Can HelpIn order to understand whether mistakes have been made, one must understand the report itself. Reading and interpreting the document requires a “key” or “overlay” that is rarely provided by the police department. This key or overlay provides a description as to the meanings corresponding to the symbols and numbers in the report. A Georgia motor vehicle accident report provides the vital information needed right from the start to get a personal injury claim started. While they can be confusing to read, they are extremely useful if you know what to look for. If you or someone you care about has suffered a serious injury or death because of another’s negligence, and you would like to learn more about your legal rights, our experienced Duluth car accident lawyers can help. We specialize in auto accident cases, and we can quickly decipher the symbols and codes in your accident report to better understand what happened. From our main office in Duluth, we serve clients from offices in Decatur and represent victims throughout Atlanta and Georgia. To set up your free consultation, you can send us a message online or give us a call.
Accident Reporting Resources
- Download a free copy of the Georgia Uniform Vehicle Accident Report Overlay in order to better understand your accident report.
- If you were involved in an accident that took place on private property or where no law enforcement accident report was drafted, you’ll need to fill out and submit the Personal Accident Report Form with the Georgia Department of Transportation.
- Review the Georgia Accident Report Training Instructions to see the actual training materials used by the DOT to train law enforcement officers on how to report an accident.