How to Read a Car Accident Report

When a car accident occurs, it can be a traumatic emotional event for all those involved. You are simply in shock that the accident actually occurred, and most of the time you will have a lot of questions and very few answers. Due to the emotional state of the parties involved in the accident, police officers provide a critically important service at the scene of the crash by conducting an initial investigation, which includes identifying all parties involved, obtaining each driver’s insurance information, and recording how the accident occured based on the available evidence.

All of this information and more is recorded on the police officer’s crash report, which you, as a party involved in an accident, have the ability to request under O.C.G.A. §50-18-72. One important thing to keep in mind is that the location of the crash report and how you request it is ultimately determined by the agency that conducts the investigation at the accident scene. Some common places to request a copy of the crash report are the Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Department of Transportation, but you should always check with the agency that conducted the investigation to determine the appropriate place to submit your request.

What Information is on Page One of a Georgia Crash Report?

Although they provide a plethora of information, crash reports are not always easy to read and understand, because the Georgia Department of Transportation(DOT) has created a manual that gives officers different codes to put in some portions of the crash report. Each code corresponds to a definition within the DOT crash report manual. Normally, a crash report will be one page, front and back. However, the length of the report can vary based on the complexity of the accident.

Where Can I Find the Police Officer’s Determination of Fault?

The top portion of page one is dedicated to the time and location of the accident. It will normally include things such as the county where the accident took place, the closest intersection to the accident, and the time the officers arrived on scene to name a few. Below the location information is a field titled “Unit #” the number in this field corresponds to to the number assigned to each vehicle in the police officer’s diagram of the accident, which is on page two (the backside of the report).

Moreover, underneath the “Unit #” field is a field titled “Susp At Fault”, which is used to indicate which driver the police officer believes is at fault for the accident. If the officer does not know who is at fault, they will simply check the box in this field for both of the drivers involved.

Is Each Driver’s Insurance Information On the Crash Report?

Generally, the officer will list the following information about each driver and vehicle on page one of the crash report:

  • Each driver’s address and date of birth
  • Each driver’s insurance information including carrier and policy number
  • Each driver’s license number and tag number
  • The make, model, and color of each vehicle
  • If the owner of the vehicle is different than the driver involved in the accident, the owner’s name and address

What Other Important Information is in a Crash Report?

Two other pieces of information that can easily be gained from the first page of the crash report are whether or not the other driver was found to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident and whether or not any of the vehicles involved were commercial vehicles. The field titled “Alcho Test”, which is located underneath the contact information for the driver, is used to indicate if a test was administered to determine if the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident.

There is similar field titled “Drug Test” used to indicate if a drug test was administered. Next to each of these fields are areas where the type of test administered can be indicated and the results of the test can be indicated. Lastly, at the very bottom of page one is a section titled “Commercial Motor Vehicles Only,” which is used to indicate information unique to commercial vehicles.

Car Accident Attorneys in Atlanta, GA

This information will give you a general understanding of how to read a crash report. The rest of the information should be explained to you by an experienced car accident lawyer. Like crash reports, car accident claims can be complex, and at Cambre and Associates, our team of car accident lawyers pride themselves on explaining these complex documents and the legal factors that are unique to your accident in a way that is easily understood. So, call our office today for free consultation with a car accident attorney that will fight for your rights.


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