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Are Accident Reports Public Record in Georgia?Sabrina
If you live in cities such as Savannah or Atlanta, Georgia, auto accidents tend to happen more in heavily populated areas. If you are involved in a car accident and sustain serious injuries, you will want to get a copy of the police report as soon as possible. Therefore, you should understand the steps to take after a Georgia motor vehicle accident just in case you are involved.
How Common Are Car Accidents In Georgia?
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, over 1,000 people have died on Georgia’s highways so far in 2021. This is an 8% increase from 2020. Auto accidents didn’t just increase in Georgia, but also all across the country. Early data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows 9,000 people died in accidents within the first three months of 2021.
Georgia Law For Reporting Accidents
Georgia Law (§40-6-273) states that you must report an accident that results in the death or injury of any person. You are also required to report the accident if it results in property damage that may be $500.00 or greater. If the accident occurs in a municipality, you must call your local police as soon as possible. If the accident occurs outside a municipality, you can report the accident to the county sheriff’s office or state patrol office. If you are unsure where to report your accident, call 9-1-1.
Can I Access Car Accident Reports and Records in Georgia?
According to the Georgia Law Enforcement and Open Records Act, citizens can request access to various types of public records including motor vehicle accident reports. If you wish to obtain a car accident report, you must request it through a “written statement of need.” Some examples of parties entitled to acquire accident reports include:
- Those who have a personal or professional connection with those involved in the accident
- Those who own or lease the property or entity damages in the accident
- Those who were injured
- Those who were witnesses
- The insurer of the party involved in the accident
- A supposed liable party of the accident
- An Atlanta car accident attorney stating he/she needs the reports as part of a case
- A government agency
Not all requests to obtain car accident reports and records are granted in Georgia. Each request is evaluated individually and must be accepted to see the report. The information gathered from the accident scene, including tag numbers, vehicle registration numbers, and drivers’ license numbers will be revealed in the report. Other information including driver history and registration will be withheld, and the driver’s day and month of birth may also be withheld from the report.
How Do I Access Accident Public Records in Georgia?
You must submit a request to access public records in Georgia. When submitting your request, you must provide:
- Your name
- Your contact telephone number
- Your mailing address
- The names of the victims or individuals involved in the report or investigation
- The records being requested
- The Georgia city or county the accident happened
- The date of the incident or investigation
- The incident report number or accident report number if known
Why Should I File a Report After a Motor Vehicle Accident in Georgia?
After an auto accident, you may be left with injuries and will need to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and damages for pain and suffering. You should report all accidents immediately, fill out the Georgia SR-13, and keep a copy for yourself. It is important to do this even if no party was injured. There may be damages to the vehicle and delayed injury symptoms that are not apparent right away.
Accessing public records is different in every state. It is important to properly report an accident if you were involved in one to save you time and money, and potential legal issues.