Car accidents are overwhelming and can be traumatizing, depending on the circumstances. You may not even think twice about asking for a copy of the police report before you leave the scene. Maybe you were left with severe injuries, so you went to the hospital instead and did not get your copy.
Thankfully, you still can get a police report of the car accident. Read below to see how you can obtain a police report in Decatur, GA. Then contact a Decatur car accident lawyer to help you with your claim.
Submit Your Request Online
You can request your police report through the Georgia Department of Highway Safety (GDOT). You can contact the local State Patrol Post or the Open Records Unit if the Georgia State Patrol Patrol investigated your collision. To request your copy of the Georgia State Patrol report, you must fill out the Open Records Request Form on the Georgia Department of Safety website.
Request the Report Through the Police Station
If the Decatur Police Department responded to the crash, you can request a copy of the accident report in person at the police station. Make sure you bring your ID and any details of the report you have. There is typically a small fee to get a copy of the report, which you will pay at the time of pickup.
There is also a Motor Vehicle Accident Report Records Request form that you will need to fill out. It will have you put your information on it, and you will check a box for why you want the report. If you wish to get the report mailed, emailed, or faxed, there is also a spot at the bottom of the form to checkmark your option.
Purchase Your Report Through BuyCrash
Another option is to access your report through the BuyCrash system easily. BuyCrash is an online option that provides you with your online report easily. Law enforcement agencies and departments also use it to provide people with reports.
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What the Accident Report Shows
Your police report shows useful information about your crash. This information can benefit you during your case. The reports include:
- The passengers in the vehicles
- The driver of both vehicles
- The contact information of the eyewitnesses
- Diagram of the accident scene
- The extent of the damage to both vehicles
- The model, make, and color of both vehicles.
- If and what citations were issues
- Location of the incident
- The weather conditions, if useful to the incident
- Any arrests made
- The roadway conditions
- A short narrative of what happened
- The date and time of the accident
- Mechanical errors with car
Remember that the opinion of the police officer does not mean you will not recover compensation. With a car accident lawyer in Decatur, GA, you can fight for your rights with the claim and report. In addition, it is important to look over the report for any errors.
Keep in Mind that a Police Report Can Have Errors
The majority of the police report should be accurate. However, sometimes there are instances where there is some incorrect information. For example, the law enforcement officer could have provided their personal insight as to what took place.
A police officer may draw the wrong conclusion about how the accident happened. Another scenario is police officers can make errors when creating the police report. It has happened before that a police officer named the wrong person in the vehicle that was at fault or even got the date wrong.
Your car accident report is a vital piece of evidence for your case. It is the main source of information that a Decatur, GA car accident attorney needs to help you. It can also identify the witnesses and explain why the other driver was at fault.
Why You Should Have a Copy of Your Police Report
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to lowball you for compensation or pay for damages. With a police report, you have all the evidence and information to show them exactly what happened. It is harder for insurance companies to avoid paying when they have the report.
When you have a police report and other evidence, your case should go smoother. There would not be much for the other driver to prove if they were clearly at fault and you have all the proof to back up your claim. Some of the additional types of evidence to show are:
- Medical records
- Witness statements
- Photos of where the incident took place, your injuries, and vehicles
- Video footage
- A daily journal to document your pain and what has happened to you emotionally and physically since.
Differences Between Police Reports and Private Accident Reports
There is a crucial difference between an official police report and a report prepared by an insurance company or private investigator. Police reports will be unbiased. They are a third-party document by the law enforcement that responds to the scene. A police accident report carries legal weight and is more authoritative than a report by a hired private party.
The reason a private investigator report is frowned upon is because it can easily be skewed to favor their client. The key details you need to support your case, like witness interviews, officer observations, determinations of potential violations, or citations given, will be on the police report.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney if You Need Help with Your Case
Once you have your police report and are ready to fight for your rights, a Decatur, GA personal injury lawyer can help. If you find something wrong with your report, that is something you can also fix if you have the right evidence to support your claim.
While it may be easy to assume if you have your police report, you could go through the legal process yourself, it is beneficial to work with a car accident attorney in Decatur, GA. Anything could happen during the case process, like another driver contesting fault, needing to file a lawsuit, or challenges with insurance companies.
Our team is ready to help. We know the ins and outs of using your report strategically to create a strong case. Contact us to start with a free consultation.