If you have been injured in a car accident, you probably wonder what information your insurance company can provide to the police. There are understandable concerns around privacy, legal implications, and impacts on your rates. While insurance companies cooperate with law enforcement investigations for personal injuries, there are limits on what they can disclose.
It is important to know what they can disclose and cannot in case your rights are violated. If your rights were violated and your insurance agency handed over your records illegally, you likely have a case and should speak with an Atlanta car accident lawyer.
When Police May Request an Accident Report
After an accident occurs, it is common for a police officer to request a copy of the insurance claim report detailing the damages, injuries, and the policyholder’s statement of what happened. Insurance companies will often provide the reports, with the policyholder’s authorization, to assist police in completing their official accident report and determining fault. However, without consent from the insured driver or owner of the vehicle, an insurance company cannot release the claim details or report.
Law enforcement can only confirm that the driver has a policy and what type of coverage. Policyholders have privacy rights that have to be protected. In serious car accidents, police officers may need to investigate further.
For Serious Accidents with Injuries or Death
When a major accident involves serious injuries, fatalities, criminal charges, or significant property damage, a police officer may be more likely to try to get a copy of the report. Police conduct in-depth investigations to rule out what happened during the incident, and the report can help. In these scenarios, the insurance company is legally obligated to cooperate with the police, subpoenas, court orders, a personal injury lawyer in Georgia, and other requests for claim information to help figure out how an accident occurred.
Suspicions of Insurance Fraud
Insurance companies have a dedicated special investigation unit to look for fraudulent claims attempting to collect on damages that never occurred or inflate minor damages and treatment expenses. When fraud is strongly suspected, an insurance company can reach out to the police and start a criminal fraud investigation. However, an insurance company must have solid evidence and reasonable cause before accusing someone of fraud.
Accusations with minimal evidence can leave insurers feeling vulnerable to defamation lawsuits.
Written Consent from the Policyholder
The easiest way for police to access detailed insurance claim information is to get written consent and authorization from the policyholder involved in the accident. With a signed release form, an insurer can provide documentation to the police and a Georgia personal injury lawyer However, outright refusing access without a good reason can cause red flags with the police and insurance company.
When a Claim Is Filed Against the Insurer
If the policyholder faces criminal charges over the accident or is being sued, the insurance company must provide the relevant claim details to support their insured vehicle driver. This includes releasing the insured’s official statement explaining their side of the story, evidence supporting their innocence, and documentation of any damages paid.
To Contest Fault Disputes
If fault for the accident is disputed, the insurance company will provide police documentation that supports their own policyholder’s version of events. This may include relevant sections of the claim report, statements by their insured describing how the accident occurred, physical evidence that aligns with their insured’s innocence, and any factors showing the other party was likely at fault, such as sobriety test results.
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Regarding Minor Witnesses or Passengers
Information regarding minors is strictly protected. Any information on minors who may have witnessed or been involved in the accident can only be obtained by police through the consent of parents or legal guardians. Insurance companies cannot disclose details about accidents involving minor passengers without permission from the child’s parent or guardian.
For minor witnesses, parental consent is required before any statement is released. Insurers must be careful to protect the privacy rights of minors when cooperating with law enforcement. Police interactions regarding minors are limited to what parents or guardians approve, with no direct insurer disclosure.
When Minor Collisions Warrant an Investigation
Minor collisions are unique. In many cases, if no one seems injured and the property damage is minimal, drivers simply exchange information and go on their way. However, an accident report is generally required by your insurance company, depending on your policy.
For a minor fender bender with no determination of fault, the police will usually not conduct further investigation or contact an insurer until the routine accident report is filed. A straightforward claim process can proceed if it is clear who was at fault. However, some negligible rear-end collisions can result in policyholders claiming unverifiable soft tissue injuries later.
In some cases, this can lead to significant medical payouts. An insurer must provide the police with updated activity logs and details if the fraud or exaggeration was reasonably suspected. Physician referrals and other privacy aspects will remain protected.
What Details Insurance Agencies May Legally Provide
Every policyholder is entitled to their privacy. An insurance company must protect their policyholder’s rights, only releasing the information they are compelled to provide. An insurance company can provide the police with the following:
- Location, time, and date of the accident
- Policy type and liability coverage amounts
- Vehicle details
- Policyholder contact information
- Vehicle repair estimates and property damage appraisals
- Claims injuries and related medical treatment
- Recorded statements by the insured about the accident
- Payments made to third-party claimants
- Photos of any vehicle damage
What Insurance Agencies Cannot Share
Insurance agencies can legally share specific information. However, they cannot share the following:
- Personal information that does not relate to the accident
- Notes on legal strategy for a claim dispute
- A statement made by the insured unrelated to the accident
- Non-public findings of special investigations into fraud
If you have been involved in a car accident and are unsure of your rights, reach out to John Foy & Associates today. Our car accident attorneys have years of experience helping clients throughout the state of Georgia. Schedule a consultation today to discuss the details of your collision.
Get Answers From a Personal Injury Attorney on Accident Report Disclosure
Trying to figure out what insurance companies can and cannot disclose after an accident can be confusing. While insurers must cooperate with police investigations, they also have privacy duties to policyholders. Information sharing is tightly restricted. If your insurer is pressured to release more than is proper, or if you receive accusations not supported by evidence, it may be time to act.
Contact a personal injury attorney in Georgia to see whether your rights were violated. Our team understands what information police can access and will fight to protect you if boundaries are overstepped. Don’t let insurers or investigators take advantage. Know your rights and stand up for fair treatment. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation.