Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | September 27, 2022
A Georgia Uniform Vehicle Accident Report must be filed if a vehicle is involved in any type of accident and there is property damage, injuries, or deaths. This obligation extends to car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, and other vehicle accidents.
The Contents of a Typical Georgia Uniform Vehicle Accident Report
An accident report is designed to elicit the kind of information that can help reconstruct the accident and determine fault.
The First Event: What Started the Auto Accident?
The report will typically indicate what started the accident. Someone drove into a busy intersection past a red light, for example, or a truck had a blowout and swerved into a car. Of course, in some accidents, the first event is also the last event.
The report will contain information regarding what contributed to the accident or who may share fault. For example, one of the drivers was intoxicated. Perhaps one of the cars was speeding and therefore unable to avoid an accident that was primarily the other driver’s fault. Maybe one of the drivers was driving with worn tires.
Snow and ice on the roads or low visibility can also be contributory factors. The road may have been narrow and winding or full of potholes. There may have been gravel on the road, contributing to a collision.
The report will note the volume of traffic in both directions. It will also note the directions of travel of the vehicles involved in the accident. If someone was driving the wrong way or in the wrong lane, the report will state this, even if the vehicle was not directly involved in the accident.
Did one of the vehicles drive in reverse, brake suddenly, make a U-turn, or pass near a blind curve? If there are skid marks, what do they indicate about the drivers’ actions or the sequence of events of the accident?
Third-party actions matter too. A jaywalking pedestrian, a child chasing a basketball, or a stray dog may have contributed to or entirely caused the accident.
What type of vehicles crashed? An 18-wheeler truck? A concrete mixer? A motorcycle? A bus? The heavier the vehicle, the longer its stopping distance and the more damage it does when it strikes another vehicle.
Damage To the Vehicles
Damage to only one side of a vehicle indicates a sideswipe crash, while intersecting collapsed hoods indicate a head-on collision. The exact nature of the vehicle damage can tell you a lot about how an accident happened. Photographs are particularly useful.
Types of Injuries
The exact nature of the injuries suffered can also help reconstruct an accident. Common injuries include head injuries, soft tissue injuries, broken bones, and road rash. The location of the injuries on the body also matters.
Did the Airbags Work?
Did all of the airbags work? Some of them? None of them? Answers to questions like these might lay the groundwork for a product liability lawsuit.
Obtaining a Copy of an Accident Report in Georgia
There are three main ways to obtain an accident report: go online, show up in person at the Georgia Highway Patrol office, or ask your lawyer to get it for you. You might have trouble reading it because the police use codes to describe certain important matters. However, an experienced car accident lawyer should be able to read it.
Can You Use a Georgia Accident Report as Evidence in Court?
Georgia allows much broader use of accident reports than other states do. In most states, a lawyer cannot use the contents of a police report except under unusual circumstances.
However, under Georgia law, an accident report is admissible evidence. Of course, the most persuasive evidence will be the testimony of the officer who wrote the report.
This law makes accident reports even more useful in settlement negotiations. Each side knows what the officer will probably say in court. A favorable accident report can result in a favorable settlement for you.
An Atlanta Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Optimize Your Use of a Georgia Highway Patrol Report
Many different items of evidence are likely to surface during a vehicle accident claim. This evidence naturally includes accident reports, eyewitness testimony, physical evidence, and sometimes expert witnesses. At the very least, you should talk with a personal injury lawyer to estimate how much your claim is worth. A lawyer could make all the difference in your car accident case.
Contact the Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers at Hasner Law, P.C. For Help
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