Understanding Georgia Motor Vehicle Crash Report Codes
“Manner of collision” refers mainly to direction of impact. In the Georgia Motor Vehicle Accident Report Training Manual, the Georgia Department of Transportation notes that “Manner of Collision” is a “CRITICAL” data item—and rightfully so. This data item, in addition to the officer’s description of the crash, will be one of the most important things that you, your attorney, an insurance company, and a jury will consider after an auto accident.
How an accident happened is often the most important factor in determining legal liability. For example, if you were involved in a rear-end accident and your car was the one that was hit, it is far more likely that the other driver will have to pay for your damages and injuries compared to a sideswipe incident where you and the other driver may have both been partially at fault.
Read on for how to understand this section and a guide to all the numeric codes used for Manner of Collision.
What happens if the accident isn’t a collision with another vehicle?
The first five categories of the Method of Collision section describe types of crashes with other vehicles. But, Code number 6 states that the incident was “Not a Collision with a Motor Vehicle.” This category will be used if the accident involved:
- Single vehicle
Single-vehicle accidents may occur when a driver loses control and hits something else, such as a pole or other property.
If the accident didn’t involve any of these, then codes 1 through 5 should be used.
“Manner of Collision” Codes Listed on the Crash Report
The “Manner of Collision” section describes how the vehicles involved initially came into contact. That means that they may have hit again later or harmed other parts of the car, but this section only deals with the first impact between the vehicles involved.
The categories that the Georgia crash report use include:
- 1 – Angle Crashes. This type of crash involves any kind of collision where the vehicles are not traveling in the same direction. Some of the most common crashes that this would describe are commonly known as “t-bone” accidents, but they can include situations where the front of one vehicle hits any part other than the front or directly behind the second vehicle.
- 2 – Rear End. A rear-end crash occurs where one vehicle hits another directly from behind. These cars are going in the same direction when the incident takes place. Although many rear-end collisions occur at slower speeds, they can still be very dangerous and result in severe injuries.
- 3 – Head-on Collision. A head-on collision occurs when the front-end of one vehicle collides with the front-end of another car. These vehicles are traveling in opposite directions when this type of collision occurs. Although these accidents are often directly in the center of a vehicle, they don’t have to be. Often one vehicle will try to swerve to avoid the other car, sometimes hitting just one side of the front of a car. The direction of force (where the vehicle is pushed as a result of the accident) has no bearing on whether the crash is considered “head-on” or not.
- 4 – Sideswipe – Same Direction. This type of accident occurs when two vehicles both hit their sides together while they are driving in the same direction. Although they may hit again later, the first damage-producing event was between the sides of the two vehicles.
- 5 – Sideswipe – Opposite Direction. The only distinction between this category and the previous one is that the cars involved here were moving in opposite directions when the crash occurred.
The Georgia Department of Transportation notes that vehicle malfunctions (such as when a tire blows or when steering fails) are not collisions with a motor vehicle. But, when those malfunctions cause a crash, that could result in damages or injury. This is true even when the car that caused the accident was in transport when it failed or malfunctioned.
Using Manner of Collision Information in Your Car Accident Case
The section marked “Manner of Collision” is critical to your personal injury case. It will let you know how the officer believes the accident occurred. Knowing where the vehicles first collided can tell you a lot about what caused the crash in some situations.
The officer should also provide more details about how the crash occurred in the notes section, but those notes may not be very extensive. You may need to rely on the Manner of Collision section more than you might think in those circumstances. John Foy & Associates can help you put the pieces together about what happened, even if you’re unsure and the officer doesn’t provide much additional information. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-400-4000 to get your FREE consultation today.