A police report is an official document prepared by the law enforcement officer who responds after your auto accident. If you have an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should always call the police, because the police report is essential to your injury claim. Once you have contacted police, then be sure to call a Marietta car accident attorney as to your best option for next steps.
Why is the Police Report Essential to My Car Accident Case?
The police report lists all of the details that the police officer observed at the scene, any traffic citations issued, their description of what happened, and their opinion regarding who was at fault. This kind of information will help your Marietta car accident attorney understand what exactly occurred at the scene of the accident in order to better strategize the argument for your case.
In Georgia, a police report is sometimes called a “crash report” or “incident report.” Usually, getting a copy is fairly easy when you follow these three steps:
- Let your car accident lawyer get it for you;
- Order it online; or
- Pick it up from the police department that responded to your accident.
If you want to pick up the police report yourself, then you will need to go in person to the appropriate police department, pay a fee (typically $5 or less) and pick up the paperwork. Many police departments have a Records Unit which will help you get the report.
By calling the police station’s general number, you can find out where the Records Unit is located and what their hours are. Typically, these contact numbers and addresses can be found using Google or your preferred online search tool. Make sure to tell the Records Unit that you need an incident report and confirm that you have the right location.
It is sometimes hard to tell which county, municipality, or agency has the police report. As such, many people find it easiest to have a car accident attorney do the search. If you are in the Marietta area and would like to request a free police report using our website, you can click here.
If you decide to try to get your police report without a car accident attorney, here are some tips and tricks to help you:
- It often takes a few days for a police report to be ready after the accident. If you call to get it on the day of your accident, or even a few days later, it may not be ready yet.
- Check the website for the specific police department. It will likely have a phone number for the Records Unit, which you will want to call ahead of time. In the greater Atlanta area in particular, you may have to fill out an online records request. This is also true if you want to obtain copies of the 911 call, the police body or dash camera footage, and other materials related to your accident that are necessary to prove your case.
- If your accident happened in a different city or county than where you live, you will have to go to that city or county to get the report. Make sure you go to the police department, sheriff station or Georgia Highway / State Patrol post that actually handled your accident.
- What if you don’t know which police agency came to the accident site? If you want to track down the correct agency, it will either be the police, sheriff or Highway Patrol for the location where the crash happened. Go online to find the contact information for each agency. When you call each one, ask them whether they have your report, and they are typically quite helpful.
- Police officers are considered neutral, so the judge and jury care a lot about what conclusions the responding officer draws about fault (i.e. who caused the accident). Without a police report, you may find yourself in a “he said / she said” battle with the other driver, and the jury may not know who to believe. Unfortunately, if the police did not respond at the time of the incident, they cannot complete an accident report.In this situation, the insurance company may try to blame you for the accident. That said, in some situations, you can work with a Marietta car accident attorney to prepare your own personal accident report. A formal accident report, even one written up by you and your accident attorney, may help to convince the judge or jury that you are in the right!
- Of course, if you hire an attorney, you can ask them to get your police report for you. Our offices have legal assistants who can do this for you without wasting your time. Injury lawyers request police reports all the time, so an experienced car accident attorney knows how to get the report quickly, while sending out critical letters of spoliation and open records requests.
I Want to Buy my Police Report Online Without Using a Marietta Car Accident Attorney. Where can I get it?
Getting down to a police station can be terribly difficult if your only vehicle was just demolished in an accident. Likewise, you may be injured and have difficulty getting around, which is why many people without an attorney prefer to get their police report online.
You can do so by visiting the website buycrash.com. Note that Buycrash is a private service that allows you to look up and purchase a copy of your car accident report. To locate the report on Buycrash, you will need some basic information, including:
- The date of the accident;
- Where the accident happened;
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for the vehicle involved.
If Buycrash.com doesn’t have your police report, it could be for a couple of reasons. First, it takes a few days for the police to finish the report and upload it. In that case, you just have to wait 2-10 days and it should be there. Second, some counties don’t use buycrash. In that case, you will need to contact the Open Records Department of the county that did the police report. The easiest way is to simply do a Google search like “Cobb County Police Department Open Records Request.” Then just follow the instructions and you’ll be able to have your car accident report sent to you.
If you have been injured, don’t go up against the insurance company unarmed. Call Morrison & Hughes Law, “The Big Guns” for a free consultation with the best Marietta car accident attorneys. Fill out the form to your right or call us at 404-800-LAWS (5297) to get your FREE consultation today.