Being involved in a car accident is always a traumatic and confusing experience. It’s a situation everyone wants to avoid, but unfortunately, it happens.
If you get into an accident in Marietta and file an insurance claim to obtain compensation, one of the first things the insurance company’s representative will ask is whether you called the police and whether you have a police report.
If you are in an accident, you are better off getting a police report. A police report is an official document that details the accident’s circumstances and will play a crucial role in your insurance claim and any legal proceedings that may follow. However, it may not be immediately clear how to get a police report in Marietta after being involved in a car crash.
An attorney can also help to build a strong case by gathering all the necessary evidence, including the police report. Insurance companies often use all kinds of tactics to pay you as little as possible or deny your claim altogether.
With a skilled car accident attorney in Marietta on your side, you can level the playing field and ensure that you are treated fairly, especially if you did not report your accident to the police in Marietta or do not have a police report.
What Does a Police Report Contain?
A police report after a car accident can help document what happened without bias. Once an officer prepares a report, all parties involved will get a police event number.
Police reports contain both facts and opinions noted by the officer, including:
People involved in the accident. The first section of a police report will detail all individuals involved in the accident. It will include their names, addresses, and phone numbers, whether anyone suffered an injury and, if so, the extent of the injury.
A description of what happened. This section will provide a detailed account of what happened based on the available information, including any contributing factors. It will include details like the time and date of the accident, the weather conditions, and any road or traffic signs around the area. This section will also detail any witnesses to the accident and their contact information.
Vehicle descriptions and identifications. The police report will specify the vehicles involved, including the makes and models. It will contain the vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and license plates. The report should specify if either vehicle was towed from the scene.
The location where the accident occurred. This section will describe where the accident occurred, including the street names, the city, and the state. It can also describe the area, such as a residential or commercial neighborhood.
Details of the accident. In this section, the police officer will provide a detailed account of the damage caused by the accident. It will include descriptions of the damage to each vehicle involved in the accident and any other property damage (e.g., damaged light poles).
A diagram of the accident. Police reports often include a diagram of the accident. The drawing will visually represent the accident, including the location of the vehicles involved, any skid marks, and other details from the accident scene.
The information in the police report can be critical to your future claim for compensation and your legal case overall. Your lawyer can use the report when establishing the sequence of events and can be brought up in court to relay the events that occurred at the scene.
Why You Need a Police Report After a Car Accident in Marietta
Amidst the chaos and confusion, you might wonder whether it is necessary to call the police and file a report. By law, motorists in Marietta and other parts of Georgia must report automobile accidents to the police when the apparent damage exceeds $500, or anyone suffers injuries or dies (Georgia Code § 40-6-273).
However, having a police report after a car accident is important not only because it’s the law but also because it accomplishes the following:
Helps in the Insurance Claims Process
When filing an insurance claim, having a police report can help expedite the process. The report will clearly outline the details of the accident, including the cause and who is at fault (when possible to determine on-site).
Your insurer can use the report to assess the damages, identify the liable party, and use the available information when calculating compensation.
Provides Legal Evidence
In case of a lawsuit, the police report will act as a crucial and unbiased piece of evidence during the insurance process, especially in disputed cases with conflicting statements from both parties.
The report will outline the pertinent facts related to the accident, which can help bolster your case. This report can also help demonstrate negligence on the at-fault driver’s part.
Helps You Remember the Details
Car accidents can be traumatizing and disorienting, and it’s fairly easy to forget some of the details surrounding the accident over time. A police report records all critical details. The report will document details about the date, time, location, and damages and the statements of the involved parties and eyewitnesses.
Report Hit-and-Run Incidents
Hit-and-run accidents are quite prevalent, and they can cause significant losses to the victim. If you’re ever in a hit-and-run incident, you need a police report. Filing a police report as soon as possible can aid in finding the perpetrator and support your insurance claim.
Without a police report, trying to obtain compensation can become an arduous task as the insurer will likely take additional time investigating your crash to make sure it really happened.
Most states require that you file a police report if the accident caused serious injuries, death, or property damage above a particular cost threshold. Moreover, some insurers may require you to file a police report after the accident to process your claim within a certain time frame.
Failing to file a police report can lead to complications when filing a claim and may negatively impact your chances of receiving fair (or any) compensation.
Getting a Police Report After a Car Accident in Mariette, GA
Individuals who need copies of police reports maintained by the Marietta Police Department can get a copy of the report, according to the department’s website. While the department is committed to processing requests for copies of reports immediately during records division hours, Georgia law permits a three-day waiting period.
The Marietta Police Department asks anyone requesting a copy of the report to fill out a records request form and fax it to 770-794-5301 or email it to email@example.com.
The Marietta Police Department charges an hourly fee based on the salary of the employee who completes the request for any requests that take longer than 15 minutes.
Can You Get Compensation Without a Police Report?
A police report is one of the pieces of evidence that can help support a personal injury or property damage claim after an accident. It provides crucial details about the accident, including the date, location, and parties involved. However, getting a police report is not always a legal requirement for filing a claim for compensation, which is why many people skip this step.
If you are involved in an accident, gathering as much information as possible is crucial. You should take photos of the scene, talk to witnesses, and exchange insurance information with the other party involved in the accident. This information can help build a strong case for compensation, regardless of whether you have a police report.
When filing a claim, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case to investigate the crash and determine who was at fault. The adjuster will also review the evidence gathered at the scene of the accident. Therefore, even without a police report, you can potentially receive compensation for damages or injuries caused.
However, it is essential to note that getting a police report can work to your advantage. If the other party is at fault, the police report can help prove their negligence, especially if they received a ticket for violating traffic rules. It can also help resolve any disputes regarding fault.
If you are unsure of how to proceed after an accident without a police report, consult with an attorney. A lawyer can collect evidence, build a strong case, and advise you on your rights and options to pursue compensation, even if the insurance company says it won’t accept your claim without a police report.
Options to Obtain Compensation After a Car Accident
The first option for obtaining compensation for damages related to your accident is to file an insurance claim.
If another driver caused the accident, their insurance usually covers your medical bills and other losses. However, insurance companies are infamous for trying to minimize settlements by paying less than what an injured person deserves. That is why you might want to consider working with a lawyer to ensure you do not settle for less than you deserve.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If insurance claims are unsuccessful or result in an insufficient settlement offer, you can take legal action by filing a lawsuit against the driver or other parties at fault for the automobile accident.
Your lawyer will explain the legal options available to you, navigate the legal system, and fight for the compensation you can expect if you take your case to court.
You have a limited amount of time to sue for injuries. In Georgia, you must file personal injury cases within two years from the date of the accident in which your injury occurred (Georgia Code § 9-3-33).
Filing a Product Liability Lawsuit
Some car accidents occur due to poor quality or faulty vehicle parts. In such cases, you may file a product liability lawsuit or sue the manufacturer of the defective car part. A product liability lawsuit holds the manufacturer accountable for their negligence and may result in compensation for your injuries and financial losses.
Negotiating a Settlement
Another option is to negotiate an acceptable settlement. A settlement is a compromise between the parties involved and is typically a faster and less expensive alternative to litigation. For this reason, find someone with excellent negotiation skills built and sharpened throughout their career when looking for a lawyer.
How an Attorney Can Help You Get a Police Report After a Car Accident
Sometimes, accessing a police report after an accident can be challenging. This is especially true if the insurance adjusters or police department are not cooperating or are simply ignoring your requests. Sometimes, you may need to fill out specific forms to request police records.
If you are not careful, you may make errors or omissions, not to mention that your request may be rejected for a variety of other reasons. Some police departments have strict rules and regulations on releasing information to the general public, which may cause potential problems when trying to get a police report in Marietta or other parts of Georgia.
An experienced Marietta personal injury lawyer can obtain a police report after an accident. When you hire an attorney, he/she will investigate the accident, obtain a copy of the accident report, and begin the legal process of filing a claim. Additionally, the attorney can use his/her legal experience and authority to get the insurance adjuster or police department to release the report.
As mentioned earlier, the Marietta Police Department charges for requests of copies that take longer than 15 minutes. A skilled attorney can complete the request within 15 minutes to save you some money.
Attorneys have connections and working relationships with law enforcement officials, and they know how to work within the legal system to get court orders that require the police department to release the report.
If the attorney cannot get the report, he/she can use other legal avenues, such as subpoenas or depositions, to get the information required to prove your case.
Hiring an attorney to obtain a police report after a car accident can be beneficial in several ways. Your attorney understands the complicated legal process, ensuring that you do not make errors or omissions that can derail your case, meet deadlines, and adhere to strict requirements necessary to pursue compensation successfully.
About the Author
The Champion Firm is a full-service personal injury law firm serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. Our award-winning team of attorneys specializes in car accidents, wrongful death, premises liability, and slip-and-fall cases. Learn more about our team here.