Statistics indicate that thousands of car accidents occur in Richmond County, GA, every year. You’ll hopefully never be involved in one. However, because it’s possible you will be, it’s important to be aware of the steps you must take in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident.

For example, if you’re involved in an accident in Augusta, you may be required to file a police report. This overview will explain when doing so is necessary.

For understandable reasons, you might have concerns regarding whether your report will be public record. Keep reading to learn more.

Reporting Car Accidents in Georgia: What You Need To Know

Georgia law requires drivers to report car accidents when they result in:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • Property damage of $500 or greater

It’s best to err on the side of caution after an accident. If you’re unsure of whether you need to report your accident, file a report to avoid potential legal penalties. 

You can report your accident by calling the number of the nearest local law enforcement agency. If you don’t know the right number, simply call 911. The dispatcher will send an officer to the scene.

As you await the officer’s arrival, calmly check if others involved in the accident are unharmed. Provide them with assistance if necessary. Be sure to exchange contact and insurance information. Do not make any statements that indicate that you caused the accident.

You should also gather evidence that may be helpful later. Take pictures of the scene and your injuries, and get the names and contact information of any witnesses.

When the police officer arrives, they will probably ask you questions about the accident. Answer them honestly. It’s also important to control your emotions when speaking with a police officer. While you may naturally feel angry if you believe another driver caused your accident, if you get too emotional, you run the risk of accidentally making a statement that can negatively impact your chances of recovering fair compensation should you choose to file a claim or lawsuit.

When the officer gives you permission to leave the scene, see a doctor right away. This is important regardless of whether you believe yourself to have been injured.

Can Someone Access the Report of My Car Accident in Augusta, GA?

Due to the Georgia Law Enforcement and Open Records Act, technically, it may be possible for someone to find your car accident report. This legislation allows Georgians to access a wide range of public records and documents, including car accident reports.

However, it’s possible someone who wishes to view your car accident report will not be permitted to do so. To access the report, someone must submit a request called a “written statement of need.” This request must explain why they have a valid reason for wishing to see the report of your car accident.

People who may be legally permitted to see your car accident report include the following:

  • Those with close business or personal relationships with you
  • Those with close business or personal relationships with others involved in your accident
  • Anyone who owned property damaged in the accident
  • Attorneys who have strong reason to believe that information in the report is relevant to cases they’re working on
  • Government agencies
  • Someone conducting research that may benefit the public, such as research on how to limit car accidents
  • Witnesses of the accident
  • Anyone injured in the accident

When someone submits a request to view your car accident report, the request will be reviewed before any access to the report is granted. If the written statement of need doesn’t sufficiently address why someone has a genuine need to access the report, their request will be denied.

The basic point to understand is that there are instances when car accident reports can be viewed by members of the public in Georgia. However, accessing a motor vehicle accident report isn’t as simple as looking for it online or walking into a police office and asking for it. Your car accident report will only be released to someone who can properly the need to view the report.