After an accident, there are many processes set into motion, many of which are, unfortunately, the victim’s responsibility. One of the central pieces of your accident is the report, which the officer who responds to your accident will compile in order to put all of the information in one place. Your attorney will use this accident report to build their case while working to prove fault, and therefore liability, in your case, before moving forward with calculating damages and negotiating a settlement agreement. 

Suppose you think that an accident report is just one more complicated piece of an already overwhelming situation. In that case, you can rest easy knowing that this report will not require any more of your time or effort than simply calling 911 and making a statement to the officer. However, this does not mean that you don’t need to think about it at all. In fact, there are things that you can do to make sure that the accident report has all of the necessary and relevant information to support your claim, and there are steps you can take outside of the report that will help to provide additional details that will make your attorney’s job easier. 

Below, we will go through the specific details of an accident report — as well as a few ways that you can augment this information — to give you a sense of how this document will factor into your personal injury claim. 

Elements of an Accident Report

You can look at the Georgia Uniform Vehicle Accident Report training manual in its entirety here, but the following subsections will give you a better idea of what information is included in the accident report and why. If you would like to secure a copy of your accident report, you can do so through LexisNexis or by contacting the law enforcement department that responded to your accident. 

First Page Of the Report

This page will include all of the administrative information about the accident, such as the date, time, and location of the crash, insurance information for everyone involved, and the specifics of any citations the officer issues. 

Second Page Of the Report

The second page of the report has more subjective information and details, such as the officer’s own interpretation of the crash and possibly a diagram of the incident. This may include a map of the intersecting roads, the layout of the parking lot, or other important information that can help clarify all of the situational information. There are also places to record the damage sustained to the vehicle and more.

Supplemental Report

The supplemental report will include additional perspectives of the accident, such as your statement, the other involved parties’ statements, as well as information provided by any eyewitnesses who spoke with the police. This report will provide additional space for the officer to include information that does not fit into the standard pages of the report.

Crash Form Overlay

This overlay will provide additional information about the type of information and codes presented in the accident report. You can use this as a key to making sense of the technical information that the officer put into the pages of the report. Interpreting a Georgia accident report can be difficult, especially when you are trying to work through injuries and the immediate aftermath of your accident; working with a personal injury attorney can provide you with a clear understanding of this information and a better sense of how it may relate to your upcoming insurance claim.

Essential Steps To Take Following an Accident

The following steps are meant to help you get the care you need while also ensuring that all evidence and information regarding your accident is recorded and preserved. Since no two accidents are exactly alike, you may not be able to follow each step as described below. Remember that the most important thing for you to focus on is your health and safety, and the health and safety of the people with you. 

Take a Moment to Assess

After an accident, you will likely be overcome with adrenaline, which can cause victims to ignore their injuries and make rash decisions about the situation. Take a moment to try and collect your thoughts, check your body for injuries, and take the steps necessary to ensure that you are safe from any additional harm. 

Call 911

Call 911 as soon as possible. Regardless of the type of accident, the at-fault party may try to convince you to handle things without involving the authorities. If you call 911 before discussing how to handle the situation, you can avoid the possibility of an uncomfortable confrontation. If you choose not to call 911, you will not have an accident report — it can be very frustrating to realize that the other party changed their story after the fact when there is no supporting evidence or documentation.

Record Your Version of Events

If possible, take a video to record the specifics of the accident: what you were doing, what the other person was doing, how the accident happened, and any other specifics you can think of. Memory becomes unreliable quickly, and you may find that your understanding of the situation is clouded over time. A video and narration can remind you and will be very helpful for your personal injury attorney.

Get Eyewitness Contact Information

If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, get their contact information before they leave. If possible, ask that they stay until the police arrive so they can provide an official statement on the events they witnessed. These testimonies will go into your accident report and will help to expand on the details your attorney will use to reconstruct the situation while fighting for compensation on your behalf.

Get Medical Attention

When you call 911, the operator will alert the local police or sheriff, the fire department, and EMTs of the accident. When the EMTs arrive, be sure not to refuse medical care as this can help to identify injuries early and add to the body of evidence that tells the complete story of the situation. You may not notice an injury due to adrenaline or may downplay an injury that requires immediate care.

Speak With the Attending Officer

The officer at the scene will be responsible for compiling evidence and information into an accident report. You will need to speak with them to provide your own interpretation of the events. Make sure that you do not make any statements saying that you are unharmed, do not say anything beyond the pure facts of the situation, and do not make any comments on your injuries. There will be medical reports from the EMTs that the officer can gather information from, and you should up with a doctor afterward. 

Follow Up With Your Primary Care Physician

If the EMTs suggest that you take an ambulance to the hospital, it is in your best interest to do so. If you are able to leave on your own, then you will need to schedule an appointment with your personal doctor as soon as possible. They will ensure that you are creating a plan for recovery and documenting your injuries further. Any additional proof of your injuries will help your attorney prove the damages they will be seeking on your behalf.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

Generally, people will contact the insurance companies to initiate a claim as soon as possible. We encourage you to reach out to our law firm before doing so in order to speak with a car accident attorney about what steps are most appropriate for you to take. As soon as you contact an insurer, the adjuster assigned to your claim will begin working to identify all possible ways to reduce your settlement amount. When you have a lawyer handling your case from the start, you can be confident that you have someone focused on getting you what you deserve through each step of the process.

Contact The Pendergrass Law Firm For a Free Consultation and Case Evaluation Today

Trying to interpret the information presented in your accident report can be confusing, and it’s easy to misread or misunderstand parts of it, leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety. Additionally, information in the accident report may be misleading or incorrect, but your attorney will be able to address all of these issues and more without you needing to take on the additional worry. We are here to help you focus on your recovery while we fight to get you the money you deserve. 

Contact us as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation with our team, and to get a better understanding of how we can help you get the money you deserve after an accident. It can be helpful to procure a copy of your accident report before our initial consultation, but whether or not you have the document at the time of our conversation, we will be able to go through many of the details that will help us clearly understand your situation and provide you with useful legal advice.

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