Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | August 3, 2021
Hopefully, you will never be involved in a car accident. However, you should still know the steps to take after a crash, just in case you are.
This is particularly true if you live or drive in a city such as Savannah or Atlanta, Georgia. Statistics indicate that motor vehicle accidents are more common in Atlanta relative to many other parts of the state. Motor vehicle accidents tend to happen more often in densely populated areas.
Georgia’s Rules for Reporting Car Accidents
Under Georgia law, you are required to report an accident to law enforcement when it results in injury or death. You must also report an accident if it results in property damage that appears to be $500.00 or greater. However, it’s a good idea to report an accident even if it didn’t appear to result in injuries.
You must call the local police as soon as possible if an accident occurs in a municipality. You can report the accident to the county sheriff’s office or nearest state patrol office if an accident occurs outside a municipality. If you do not know who to report an accident to, simply call 9-1-1 instead.
When filing a police report, be sure to give an honest description of the nature of the accident and when and where it occurred. Reporting the accident properly can help you secure compensation through an insurance claim or lawsuit. It helps to have an objective report of your accident for an insurance company to review if necessary.
However, you may wonder if your accident report will be a public record in Georgia. The short answer is “yes.” That said, whether someone can easily access your report is a more complex topic.
Accessing Car Accident Report Records in Georgia
The Georgia Law Enforcement and Open Records Act ensures Georgians have access to various types of public records and documents, including motor vehicle accident reports.
Someone who wishes to view your car accident report must submit an official request for it. This is called a “written statement of need.” There are instances when an individual or group may need to view your report.
Parties who might wish to view your accident report include:
- Those with business or personal relationships with you or others involved in the accident
- Those who own or owned property that may have been damaged in the accident
- Attorneys who may need the report for cases they’re working on
- A government agency
- Those conducting research in a manner that would benefit the public, such as research for accident prevention programs
- Those who witnessed the accident
- Those who were injured in the accident
It’s understandable why such parties would potentially want to see your accident report. However, not all requests to view copies of accident reports are granted. Those who evaluate these requests must determine if a party has a legitimate need to see the report. If they do not, their request may be denied.
You don’t necessarily have to worry about your reputation being tarnished because someone decided they wanted to learn about the specific details of your accident. There are a number of reasons why you might wish to keep these details private.
By properly reporting an accident in which you were involved, you will avoid potential legal trouble. Reporting your accident can also help you recover compensation in many circumstances.