How to Read a Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Report
A serious auto accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident or commercial vehicle accident is a tumultuous experience. Once the dust settles, you will need to obtain a copy of the accident report from the jurisdictional precinct of the reporting officer.
A Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Report can be terribly 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 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.
Moreover, 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. This can be a real hassle. Officers are very busy and memories fade over time. An officer writes so many of these reports, he may not remember your accident, or he or she may confuse your accident with a different wreck. It is very possible that a mistake made on a report can become a "fact" if the officer does not correct the document while it is fresh in his mind. Insurance adjusters generally follow what they read on the accident report. If it is wrong, you could be denied compensation for not only your property damage, but also your personal injury. If you have a question about an accident report, or you think it is inaccurate, you should act quickly. Time is of the essence.
In order to understand whether mistakes have been made, you 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.
You may download a copy of the overlay for free on our site. Please follow the link below.
We have also included some other links, such as the Personal Accident Report Form published by the Georgia Department of Transportation which is available to those whose accidents took place on private property or for those for whom no law enforcement accident report was drafted. In addition, the Georgia Accident Report Training Instructions are the actual training materials used by the DOT to train law enforcement officers.
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, like Atlanta, this may be a team employed by the local law enforcement departments. On Georgia and federal highways and 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 expert 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.
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, Scholle Law can help.
From a 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 the firm a message online or call toll-free at 866-972-5287 or in Atlanta at 770-717-5100.