When speaking with your insurance company or another driver’s insurance company following an accident, one of the first questions is usually, “What happened?”. If the accident was serious, you may not have any memory at all of exactly how the accident occurred or what transpired in its aftermath. Even a relatively minor low speed crash is a traumatic experience which may make memory of it fuzzy at best. If law enforcement was called to the scene of the accident, the responding officers will have made an accident report based on their own findings, interviews with you and any other drivers involved, and statements of witnesses. This report can be a valuable record of the facts of the accident, and you may need to obtain it in order to negotiate effectively with an insurance company.
In Georgia, access to public records is regulated by the Open Records Act of 2012. In order to receive a copy of a traffic crash report, you must make a request in writing containing certain information. The required information includes the following: 1) your full name, 2) your mailing address, 3) your phone number, 4) the names of the subjects or victims of the investigation or report, 5) the records being requested, 6) The county or city where the accident occurred, 7) the date of the accident, and 8) the crash report or incident report number, if known. This information should be provided to the Georgia State Patrol, or the Open Records Unit of the police department that responded to the accident. There may be a fee for the report.
If your accident was a minor one that did not involve the police, or took place on private property, you should make your own memorandum of events shortly after the crash while the details remain fresh in your mind. Such a document may not have the same authority as an official accident report, but it will be a valuable tool to help you remember the facts from your point of view.
Obtaining a copy of the official accident report will help you in dealing with your insurance company or another driver’s insurer, especially if you were not at fault for the accident. Less ambiguity about the facts involved in a claim will usually allow it to be resolved faster, meaning your vehicle repair costs and medical bills will be taken care of sooner rather than later.
Dealing with insurance companies after a crash is rarely simple or stress free. An experienced attorney can help you every step of the way, ensuring your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. The attorneys of Murphy & Garner, LLC, have over 32 years of experience serving clients in western Georgia and the surrounding area. We will bring our wealth of knowledge and passion for justice to bear on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at (866) 942-0552 or (678) 563-1584.