How to Read an Accident Report
Posted on Sunday, March 20th, 2022 at 10:30 am
Georgia police and state troopers use a two-sided form impressively called the “Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Report” when they document motor vehicle accidents. This is the document insurance companies want when they ask for the “accident report” or “police report.” The accident report can be hard to read, but it contains a detailed description of what happened at the scene.
For speed and clarity, the report uses codes instead of descriptions for certain information blocks. This lets the reporting officer fill out the report faster and lets the insurance company process it more efficiently, but it can make it harder for you to understand. At Chris Hudson Law Group, we want you to understand what you’re looking at.
The Front Page – Codes and Numbers
The front of the report has three sections. Each section contains related blocks of information, so it is easy to find the details you’re looking for.
- Part 1 contains the agency case number. This is the number the responding officer will give you at the scene so you can look the report up online later. Part 1 also has information about the date, time, and location of the accident. If you didn’t receive the case number, you could still have the report retrieved with that information.
- Part 2 has the drivers’ information, both the victim and the at-fault driver (if that can be determined at the scene). This part should include names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and any insurance information. If the responding officer was able to obtain the VINs, license plate numbers, and other vehicle identification, that would be in this section.
- Part 3 contains the “contributing factors.” This is everything the officer believes caused the accident or made the injuries worse. This section can be hard to understand because Georgia uses codes for this section. For instance, in the “Airbag Function” box, 0 means the seat did not have an airbag, 1 means the airbag deployed, 2 means there was an airbag, but it did not deploy.
- At the bottom of this page is a section that indicates whether any citations were issued and the code section of the violation.
The Back Page – Narrative and Map
On the back of the page is a space for the officer to write their actions and impressions when they responded to the scene. This will include their observations as they arrived, anything they were told, and any other relevant information.
Below this space is a blank area where the officer can sketch the scene. The officer will include the position of the cars relative to the roadway, any objects which might have contributed to the accident, and other physical landmarks at the scene.
The lower half of the page contains witness information and any details about passengers and occupants of the vehicles who were not drivers. If they were transported to the hospital, the transporting agency is listed here, as well as the name of the hospital and when the transport arrived.
At the bottom of this page, the officer who completed the report signs their name, as does the supervisor who reviewed and approved the report. It is very important the document has both signatures before it is released.
Because there isn’t very much room on the first-page narrative space, there is usually a continuation page attached. If the accident description needs more detail, it will be continued here. Other things that can be included on this page would be additional witness information, a larger map sketch, and any other information that did not fit on the main report.
The first page should indicate that it is “page 1 of 2” or “page 1 of ___ (the total number of pages there are),” and you should receive all the pages when you request a report from the DOT or police agency. The continuation page is very important since it may have notes and other information that your attorney needs for your case.
The report should be accompanied by an “overlay” or key to the codes used on the front page of the report. The overlay itself does not contain any information about the accident, but it will help you decipher the information on your report. Overlays are also available online.
If you were involved in a car accident and need someone to help you obtain or review your accident report, contact the Augusta car accident lawyers of Chris Hudson Law Group at 706-863-6600 right away. We can explain the details in your report and what it means for your accident claim and any future actions. Let our legal team go to work for you today.