Responsibilities of “In Possession” and Absentee Landlords

Responsibilities of Landlord Premises Liability Personal Injury Attorney Georgia

In Georgia, landlords are required by law to meet certain safety and maintenance requirements. When a landlord negligently fails to keep his premises reasonably safe for use and someone is injured or killed while they were on or near property, they may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the landlord. In Georgia, landlord premises liability lawsuits and the recovery of damages depends on whether a landlord is an “absentee” or “in possession” landlord.

What Is an “In Possession” Landlord?

An “in possession” landlord is either a person or entity that occupies the property or otherwise maintains substantial ownership and control over the property, even after it is rented out to a tenant. Reserving the right to periodically inspect the property does not usually constitute being “in possession” of the property.

Responsibilities of an “In Possession” Landlord

A landlord that is “in possession” of a property is usually governed by the stricter standards that apply to property owners. Georgia law states that a property owner must exercise ordinary care to keep a property safe for any “invitee” who approaches, exits, or is present on the property.

An invitee is one who is induced by express or implied invitation to come onto an owner’s property. During the term of their lease, a tenant would be an invitee of the apartment, condominium, or office building where they live or work. Under this standard, the landlord owes a duty of care to keep his premises safe. He is liable for damages when injuries are caused by his failure to exercise ordinary care.

The duty to keep premises safe is not limited to just the construction and maintenance of buildings or other physical structures located on the property. The owner/landlord is obligated to keep outside ramps and stairs, driveways, sidewalks, curbs, and parking lots in good repair. For any lawns, landscaping must also be kept in a safe condition. Additionally, Georgia courts have held that the duty to keep premises safe may also include the obligation to provide adequate security and required fire protection.

What Is an Absentee Landlord?

An absentee landlord is either a person or entity that owns and then rents out property. If the landlord does not occupy the property and does not exercise much day-to-day control over the property, they are considered to be “not in possession” and therefore absent. Simply put, if the landlord does not live, reside somewhere on the property, or access the property most days, they are an absentee landlord.

Responsibilities of an Absentee Landlord

Georgia statute states that when a landlord is not in possession of rental property, his or her liability is limited to those damages from “defective construction” or from failure to “keep the premises in repair.” This is a lower standard of care than would be required if they were in possession of the property.

Defective Construction

An absentee landlord may be liable for defective construction if they:

  • Did the construction work themselves;
  • Directly supervised the construction work; or
  • Had knowledge of the defective construction.

Keeping the Premises in Repair

In addition to construction defects, injuries can also occur when a landlord fails to repair a hazardous condition on the property. In order to be liable for failure to repair, Georgia courts have generally found that the landlord must have had knowledge of the hazardous condition needing repair. If the landlord knew about a potentially hazardous condition and did not take steps to repair it within a reasonable amount of time, the landlord may be found liable for resulting injuries. In some cases, landlords have also been found liable for hazards they should have known about based on performing regular inspections.

For More Information, Contact Williams Elleby

If you, a friend, or a family member have been injured while on someone else’s property, contact  Williams Elleby, to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Are There Limits on the Amount of Interest a Litigation Funding Company Can Charge in Georgia?

Personal Injury Cases Litigation Funding Georgia Attorney

There are a lot of questions surrounding how litigation funding works and what interest rates they are allowed to charge. This has been a point of contention over the course of the last few years, with a number of lawsuits and even a class action challenging the litigation funding industry’s interest rates. In October of 2018, the Supreme Court of Georgia decided the issue once and for all.

What Is Litigation Funding?

To understand the question, it is helpful to first understand what litigation funding is. Litigation funding, also known as legal financing, is the process of paying for some or all of the expenses of a lawsuit up front. If the lawsuit is successful, the funder is repaid in full plus interest. If the plaintiff is unsuccessful and does not recover anything, the litigation funder will also receive nothing. Because of the risk involved, the interest rate applied by litigation funding companies can be quite high.

Litigation funding is typically used in cases that are going to require serious resources to prosecute but have a high potential for success. Litigation funding is growing in popularity, but it isn’t a new idea. This type of funding has been legal in the United Kingdom since 1967, and it has been fairly common in most major countries since the early 2000s.

Georgia Law Related to Litigation Funding

In the case of Ruth vs. Cherokee Funding, LLC, a number of Georgia residents that received litigation funding from Cherokee filed suit against the company. The lawsuit alleged that Cherokee had charged exorbitant interest rates that were illegal under state law. Specifically, the suits charged that Cherokee violated:

  • The Georgia Industrial Loan Act (GILA)
  • The Payday Lending Act (PLA)

According to the plaintiffs, the money paid by Cherokee amounted to loans under both PLA and GILA. Both statutes cap the interest rates for loans under a certain dollar amount, which meant that if the courts agreed with the plaintiffs that litigation funding were loans, Cherokee would have been in violation of both statutes. Cherokee’s attorneys, however, argued that the payments were not loans but investments in the outcome of the lawsuit. Georgia law does not contain a limit on interest for investments, so this distinction is critical.

Loan vs. Investment

When the issue came before the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Court weighed whether or not the funds paid out by a litigation funding company were loans or not. In the end, the Court ruled on behalf of Cherokee on both the GILA claim as well as the PLA claim. The Court reasoned that the funds provided by litigation funding companies were not loans under Georgia law because, unlike loans, there was no guarantee that these funds would ever be paid. Because the plaintiffs would not have owed Cherokee anything had the lawsuit been unsuccessful, the Court found that the PLA and GILA did not apply and Cherokee was not bound by their interest rate limits.

While litigation funding is necessary in some cases, in most others it may make more sense to work closely with a Georgia personal injury attorney to ensure that a lawsuit has the resources it needs. To discuss your personal injury claim, contact Williams Elleby, today at 833 – LEGALGA.

What You Should Know About Daycare Liability Insurance in Georgia

Georgia Daycare Liability Insurance Personal Injury Attorney

All too often, accidents result in injuries for kids within Georgia daycares. It’s not hard to understand why, as kids get in accidents frequently. But in some cases, those injuries were directly caused by the negligence of the daycare or its employees. The emotional toll of having an injured child is bad enough, but the financial cost of caring for a severely injured child can be enormous.

With the potential for injury that a daycare carries each day, you might assume that every daycare would be required to maintain liability insurance. Unfortunately, that assumption would be wrong. Here are a few things you need to know to keep your family safe.

Georgia Daycares Are Not Required to Carry Insurance

It may surprise you, but Georgia law does not require a daycare to have an active liability insurance policy in order to operate. The state of Georgia has its own department for early childhood education known as the Department of Early Care and Learning. However, this agency lacks the power to require insurance in Georgia daycare facilities.

The requirements for daycares set out in Georgia law are much more lenient. According to O.C.G.A. § 20-1A-4(9), the authority of the Department of Early Care and Learning is limited to recommending formally in writing to the daycare that it is encouraged to carry a liability insurance policy. There are no consequences if a daycare facility chooses not to obtain a liability insurance policy sufficient to cover all of its clients.

Daycares Without Insurance Must Notify Parents

While they are of little comfort to the parents of a child that is hurt, the Georgia code does have some limited requirements for daycare facilities that decline to carry insurance. According to Georgia law, all daycare facilities that refuse to obtain insurance after receiving the recommendation to do so from the Department of Early Care and Learning must notify the parents whose children attend the daycare of that decision.

The daycare must give notice in two different ways. First, the daycare facility must post a written notice at the daycare in a conspicuous place. The sign must be readily visible for visitors and have letters at least ½ inches tall.

Second, the daycare facility must provide written notice to all parents by mail making them aware that there is no liability insurance policy in effect. The daycare is required to have each parent or guardian sign an acknowledgment of the lack of insurance coverage. The daycare facility must keep this written acknowledgment for as long as the child is at the daycare and for at least 12 months after the child leaves the facility. If the facility doesn’t comply with these notice requirements, they risk a fine of $1,000 per infraction.

A Georgia Injury Lawyer Can Help Obtain Compensation for Your Injured Child

If your child was injured at a Georgia daycare, it is vital that you discuss the situation with an experienced personal injury attorney. If the daycare was insured, an attorney might be able to negotiate with the carrier in an effort to settle the claim. If the daycare wasn’t insured, an attorney might be able to obtain the compensation your child deserves directly from the business. To discuss your case with an experienced Georgia injury lawyer, contact Williams Elleby, at 833 – LEGALGA today.

AAA: Dashboard Gadgets Increase the Likelihood of Accidents

Personal Injury Car Wreck Dashboard Gadgets Increase Accidents Attorney Georgia

When it comes to car manufacturers, the newest arms race for marketing a make or model is the inclusion of so-called infotainment systems. These combinations of hardware and software installed in vehicles can give the driver options to send text messages, navigate, or turn on a new podcast. But according to a new study from AAA, these technological advances can be a dangerous distraction.

The study, which was performed by the University of Utah on behalf of AAA, sought to rate 30 different 2017-model vehicles by how much attention their infotainment systems demanded. The participants in the study were between the ages of 21 and 36 years old. During the course of the study, the participants would use voice commands and touch screens to place phone calls, send text messages, navigate, or listen to music.

The study separated the vehicles into four groups based on the overall demand for attention each vehicle required of its driver. These four demand groups were Low, Moderate, High, and Very High. In the end, none of the 30 vehicles were considered to have an infotainment system that had low demand. Out of the remaining three groups, seven required a moderate demand of their drivers, 11 required high demand, and 12 required a very high demand.

The study tracked four activities that diverted driver attention:

  • Listening to the Radio
  • Tuning the Radio or Talking on the Phone
  • Texting
  • Using GPS Navigation

According to the study, merely listening to the radio was the least demanding, but it still involved a low level of demand for the driver’s attention. Changing the radio station or speaking on the phone was the second least-demanding, followed by texting. The study found that attempting to use GPS navigation was by far the most distracting aspect of infotainment systems in the models surveyed.

Researchers found that drivers took their eyes off the road for up to 40 seconds at a time while attempting to operate the GPS navigation system in some of these vehicles. To put that amount of time into perspective, a distraction of only one or two seconds is enough to lead to a collision.

It is easy to blame the addition of screens or even visual technology within windshields, but researchers are quick to point out that even voice-activated controls can be dangerous. The research shows that anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the core function of operating a motor vehicle can lead to an accident.

Contact a Georgia Attorney

Distracted driving has long been a major threat on Georgia roadways. If you suffered an injury in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. Attorney Chase Elleby is an experienced trial lawyer who has obtained substantial settlements and verdicts on behalf of his injured clients. Williams Elleby, will evaluate your case for free and accepts cases on a contingency fee basis. That means you won’t pay us anything unless we successfully obtain the compensation you deserve in your case. Williams Elleby, is located in Kennesaw, Georgia, but represents injured clients throughout the state. To set up your free consultation, contact Williams Elleby, at 833-LEGALGA.

Bedsores: Can a GA Nursing Home Be Held Liable?

Nursing Home Negligence and Pressure Sores Personal Injury

Bedsores are one of the most common injuries that occur in Georgia nursing homes.  When you place a loved one in a nursing home, it is typically because they can no longer care for themselves and you are not able to provide the care they need. When you choose a nursing home, you are entrusting the nursing home’s administrators and staff with one of the most important duties imaginable: caring for another human being, your loved one.

Finding out that your loved one has developed bedsores can understandably feel like a violation of that trust. In Georgia law, you may have a legal claim against the nursing home and/or some of its staff members for the harm.

Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores

Pressure ulcers and bedsores are two different terms for the same condition of skin sores that develop as a result of limited blood flow to an area. Blood flow is limited when a part of the body is pressed up against something, like a bed or wheelchair, for a long period of time. Bedsores are more likely to develop on the skin atop bony areas such as the hip, ankle, back of head, and tailbone.

Bedsores range in severity from a red, swollen area on the skin’s surface to a deep open wound that may never fully heal. Their severity is identified by stages; stage 1 is the least severe and stage 4 is the most severe. More severe cases can lead to severe complications including sepsis, which is a body-wide infection, and even death.

Causes of Pressure Ulcers

Bedsores are a common problem in nursing facilities, particularly among patients with limited or no independent mobility. These patients are often spending the bulk or all of their days in bed or between a bed and a wheelchair. Being in the same position creates pressure at certain spots, which cuts off blood flow and causes bedsores.

Nursing homes sometimes argue that pressure ulcers and bedsores are unavoidable, but this is deceptive. It is true that even with the best nursing home care, pressure ulcers and bedsores sometimes develop. However, there are ways to significantly reduce the risk of bedsores. In fact, the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center estimates that 95% of all pressures sores are preventable.

Legal Liability for Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores

Two of the most important steps for preventing bedsores in nursing home patients are repositioning the patient frequently and make sure skin is kept dry.   This means nursing home staff must promptly clean up any urine or feces for bedridden patients. Nursing homes are obligated to take these and other steps to prevent pressure sores. They must also provide adequate medical care for any bedsores that do develop. Unfortunately, nursing homes do not always live up to these responsibilities.

Get Legal Help for Nursing Home Malpractice and Negligence

There are far too many cases where a Georgia nursing home resident’s bedsores could have been avoided or complications minimized if the nursing facility provided the care it was ethically and legally required to. Fortunately, nursing homes and their staff can be held liable for their misconduct.  

Proving that pressure ulcers and bedsores are the result of negligent or intentional misconduct by a nursing home or its staff members and not an unavoidable consequence of being largely bedridden, can be difficult. Having counsel experienced in nursing home lawsuits can improve your likelihood of successfully obtaining fair compensation. If you would like more information or would like to discuss your case, contact Williams Elleby today to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Georgia’s Dram Shop Law & Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving and Dram Shop Statute in Georgia

If you have been injured in a vehicle collision with a drunk driver in Georgia, you may be able to pursue a claim against the restaurant or bar that over served the drunk. In Georgia dram shop lawsuits, the drunk driver isn’t the only party you can hold responsible. If an establishment knowingly over served the driver with alcohol prior to the accident, you may also have a claim against that establishment   . This claim may be brought thanks to what’s known as Georgia’s dram shop liability laws.

What Is a Dram Shop Law?

Georgia is one of 30 states nationwide to adopt some form of dram shop liability. While dram shop lawsuits are somewhat uncommon, Georgia juries have previously rendered significant verdicts against establishments that overserved drivers.

If a proprietor of a bar or one of their employees knowingly serves alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, they may face liability if the intoxicated person goes on to injure someone in an alcohol-related accident.

In addition to visibly intoxicated patrons, dram shop laws also apply to anyone who serves a person less than 21 years of age. It makes no difference if the minor used a convincing fake ID to obtain alcohol; it is up to the establishment to determine when an ID is valid.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule. If the drunk driver consumes their own alcohol at the establishment, there is no liability on behalf of the owner or any employees. This is especially true in cases where an establishment does not sell alcohol at all. Additionally, there is an exception if the proprietor or employee has reason to believe the driver would not be driving later. Examples include if the driver had walked to the bar or had a cab waiting. Dram shop laws don’t apply in these situations.

Enforcement

It is up to business owners and employees to act with care when serving alcoholic beverages. The Georgia Department of Revenue is empowered to regulate alcohol license infractions, one of which has restrictions on overserving alcohol to patrons. But an investigative report has shown that they make little effort in actively policing bars and restaurants in an effort to curb overserving. While other states actively investigate bars to determine if they avoid overserving, the Georgia Department of Revenue has a reputation for not being as vigilant.

Discuss Georgia Dram Shop Laws With Our Georgia Dram Shop Lawyers

If you or a loved one have been injured in a Georgia traffic collision by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to seek monetary compensation from the responsible party. That compensation may include your medical bills, pain and suffering, property damage bills, lost wages, and punitive damages. And if the drunk driver that struck you was over-served by a Georgia bar or night club, you may be able to seek recovery from the establishment as well as the driver.

Attorney Joel Williams has a proven track record of recovering significant damages on behalf of his clients. Our experienced Georgia personal injury attorney, Joel carefully investigates every case to identify any legal issues and to provide his clients with an understanding of what to expect with an injury lawsuit. Contact Williams Elleby today at 833-LEGALGA today for a free consultation.

Georgia Ranks 6th on the List of Deadliest States for Pedestrians

Georgia In Top 6 Of Deadliest State for Pedestrians Personal Injury

Pedestrians walking near or across busy roadways are vulnerable. While that is true across the country, some areas are more dangerous for pedestrians than others. According to a recent study, Georgia ranks as one of the deadliest states for pedestrians in recent years.

Pedestrian Deaths in Georgia

According to the nationwide study of pedestrian deaths between 2008 and 2017, Georgia ranked sixth among states for the most pedestrian deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents. During that time, 1,782 pedestrians were struck and killed in the state, which is approximately 184 annually. That works out to exactly 1.76 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 Georgia residents during that time frame. That is noticeably higher than the national average of 1.55 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people.

According to the data, Florida tops the list as the deadliest state for pedestrians during the time span studied. In Florida, 5,433 pedestrian deaths were reported, which worked out to 2.73 annual deaths for every 100,000 residents. That is nearly double the national average.

Atlanta Statistics

When it comes to pedestrian deaths in Georgia, the Atlanta area is far and away responsible for the majority of deaths. With 1.79 pedestrian fatalities in the Atlanta area for every 100,000 people, the city has a higher death rate than both the state and national average.

Some experts point to the nature of Atlanta’s transportation infrastructure. The area relies on motor vehicles over mass transit at a much higher rate than other large cities. The result is more congestion on Atlanta’s roadways, more accidents, and more fatalities.

Another issue raised in Metro Atlanta is the poor condition of many city sidewalks. In some places, the sidewalks are in such disrepair that it is necessary to walk on the road. While efforts have been underway to fund the repair of these sidewalks, those efforts have stalled due to a funding shortage. The result is a partial cause for the high rate of pedestrian fatalities in the city.

Trends

Despite advancements in car technology, the problem of pedestrian fatalities is not going away. While 2017 reflected a slight drop from the previous year, the annual death total has increased significantly across the 10-year study. On average, 13 pedestrians are killed in America each day. That works out to a death every one hour and forty-six minutes.

Injured in a Pedestrian accident? Contact One of Our Atlanta Area Personal Injury Attorneys Today.

It is the responsibility of Georgia drivers to keep a look out for pedestrians while driving. Even a brief lapse in judgment can lead to deadly consequences if a driver strikes a defenseless pedestrian with their vehicle. Whether caused by a drunk driver, distracted driving, or merely inattention, the result of a vehicle striking a pedestrian can be life-altering. If you have been hit by a car, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered. Your potential damages go beyond just your hospital bills, as the responsible party may also be required to pay your lost wages as well as pain and suffering. To learn about your options, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys with Williams Elleby at 833-LEGALGA.

Can a Car Accident Cause Scoliosis?

Scoliosis and Personal Injury Caused by a Car Accident in Georgia

Scoliosis is the curvature of the spinal cord and it can be exacerbated by a car accident. While the spinal cord is typically straight, a bent or curved spine can lead to issues like back pain. If a negligent driver causes or exacerbates your scoliosis, you may be entitled to recover damages.

Although some studies suggest that scoliosis can be caused by trauma, the majority of scoliosis cases have no known cause. The important thing to remember after a car accident in Georgia is that a pre-existing diagnosis of scoliosis will not bar a personal injury claim after a car accident. This is because Georgia law allows a person to recover when a pre-existing condition is made worse or aggravated by trauma.

The Effect of Scoliosis

Scoliosis can lead to debilitating back pain. But unlike some injuries, you can’t count on scoliosis to heal naturally on its own. Without proper treatment, it is possible that your pain will be so severe you could be unable to work, drive, or care for yourself.

The methods for treating scoliosis can vary. In some cases, regular visits to your chiropractor can successfully straighten your spine and relieve your pain. In other cases, you may need to wear a back brace for extended periods in order for your scoliosis to resolve. In the most severe cases, you may require surgery to relieve the pain.

The Causes of Scoliosis

There are a variety of causes of scoliosis. Many people are born with scoliosis or deal with the condition from a young age. In some cases, it is so minor that it does not affect your quality of life. But some studies suggest that scoliosis can be caused by physical trauma like a car accident. There is little doubt that physical trauma can make the pain caused by scoliosis worse. This can be a trying experience for anyone injured in a wreck who has not previously experienced back pain.

Filing an Injury Claim for Scoliosis

When it comes to an injury claim related to scoliosis, the help of an experienced Georgia injury attorney can be invaluable. The responsible party, their attorney, and the insurance company will normally deny your claim and argue that your car wreck did not cause the scoliosis. 

If you are suffering from the effects of scoliosis due to the negligence of another driver, you may have a case for damages. And if your pain is so severe that you are unable to work, those damages can add up fast. You could face the financial burden of medical bills and lost wages in addition to your pain and suffering. It is important to keep a log of any pain you are experiencing, as well as a record of medical bills. This will ensure that you are prepared should you decide to try to collect compensation. 

In many cases, a car accident attorney in Georgia may be able to negotiate a favorable settlement without ever filing a lawsuit. However, if the responsible party refuses to pay, an attorney can file suit and pursue your damages through the court system.

If you are dealing with the effects of scoliosis brought on by a vehicle accident in Georgia, attorney Joel Williams and his staff are ready to help. Joel is an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney with an extensive track record of obtaining favorable results for his clients. To learn more, contact Williams Elleby today at 833-LEGALGA for a free consultation.

Punitive Damages in a Georgia Personal Injury Case

Drunk Driving in Personal Injury Case Involving Punitive Damages in Georgia

A Georgia personal injury lawsuit is a civil case, not criminal, so there is no jail or prison time at stake; however punishment may be available in the form of punitive damages. Sometimes a defendant’s behavior is so shocking and appalling that the law wants to do all that it can to prevent it from happening again. One way the law can do this is by making a defendant pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are also known as exemplary damages — damages meant to make an example out of the defendant so that behavior doesn’t continue.

Punitive Damages vs. Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages in a personal injury case serve to compensate the victim for what they lost or spent, or any expenses accrued due to the accident. Compensatory damages are available to compensate a victim for a loss.

Punitive damages serve an entirely different purpose. Their purpose is not to compensate the plaintiff, although the plaintiff does receive the damage award. Courts and juries award punitive damages when the behavior of the defendant demonstrates an intentional disregard for the rights of another. Miller v. City Views at Rosa Burney Park GP, LLC, 323 Ga. App. 590 (2013). The purpose is to punish and deter the defendant from repeating the same action. As such, courts don’t award punitive damages in every personal injury case. Another important difference is that punitive damages have to be requested when the complaint is filed; otherwise, they cannot be pursued at trial — they are not automatically awarded.

Burden of Proof for Being Awarded Punitive Damages

The victim plaintiff must prove by “clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s actions showed willful misconduct, malice, fraud, wantonness, oppression, or that entire want of care which would raise the presumption of conscious indifference to consequences.” Caldwell v. Church, 341 Ga. App. 852 (2017) quoting O.C.G.A. § 51-12-5.1. A good example of clear and convincing evidence under Georgia law is evidence that an adverse driver was drunk or under the infuence of drugs when he or she caused a car crash. This meets the “clear and convincing evidence” standard required for punitive damages.

Limits to Punitive Damages in Georgia

In most cases where punitive damages are awarded, Georgia has set a maximum limit of $250,000.

This maximum limit does not apply to product liability cases. There is also no maximum limit when a court finds that a defendant “acted or failed to act with the specific intent to cause harm, or that the defendant acted or failed to act while under the influence of alcohol [or] drugs.”

This means that if the defendant intended harm either by deliberately acting or doing nothing at all and allowing harm to come to the victim, the defendant could face punitive damages. If the defendant harmed the victim due to being intoxicated on either drugs or alcohol, punitive damages are likely to be awarded.

Contact Our Georgia Personal Injury Attorneys Today

If you or a loved one is a victim of a personal injury, punitive damages can and should be explored. You will need an experienced attorney in Georgia who can help you navigate the complex system. If you have questions about the law and your rights, contact our firm to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.

Obtaining a Car Accident Report in Georgia

Car Accident Report for Personal Injury Civic Case in Georgia

While a car accident is a stressful event, there is a very clear process in place to obtain a car accident report in Georgia. The first thing that you should do after a car accident is to call the police and report the accident. The police report will be a vital piece of evidence for your personal injury claim. If you file a personal injury claim with an automobile insurance company, the insurer will most certainly ask whether an accident report was filed and then ask for access to it.

What Is a Car Accident Report?

car accident report is a document that the responding police officers fill out while at the scene of the accident. It captures essential information about the who, what, when, where, and how of the accident. Specifically, this includes:

  • The names, addresses, contact number, and insurance information for those involved in the accident — this includes the drivers and passengers in both vehicles
  • Vehicle damage
  • The date of the accident
  • The time of the accident
  • The location of the accident
  • Contact information for any witnesses to the accident
  • Any injuries
  • Additional notes on behavior or circumstances surround the accident

How Do You Obtain a Car Accident Report?

There are usually two ways that you can obtain a copy of the police report: paid or free. If you do not want to spend any money, then after you file a claim with your insurance company, you can ask if they can obtain a free copy for you. If you decide to take the paid route, you will use the receipt number that the responding police officer provided to you at the scene of the accident and contact the traffic division of the police department to request a copy.

You will be required to pay a fee, but it is usually nominal. You can also access most Georgia Uniform Motor Vehicle Accident Reports at the website https://www.buycrash.com.

If you do not have the police report receipt from the responding officer, you can still get a paid copy from the traffic division by providing specific details of the accident as well as your name.

Usually a letter with the following language will be sufficient to obtain the accident report and other publically available evidence you may need: “Pursuant to the Georgia Open Records Act (O.C.G.A. § 50-18-70 & 50-18-71), I am requesting a complete copy of the original motor vehicle accident reports, photographs, dash cam videos, and any additional documentation you may have regarding an automobile wreck I was involved in on [INSERT DATE OF YOUR WRECK] in [INSERT COUNTY] at [INSERT ROAD NAME WHERE THE WRECK OCCURRED].”

How Is a Car Accident Report Used in a Lawsuit or Settlement?

Prior to trial, a police report is extremely useful during settlement negotiations with the automobile insurance company. Unfortunately, the complete police report is usually not admissible evidence if your personal injury case ends up going to trial. Some portions of the report may be admissible while other portions are not.

For More Information, Contact Our Georgia Car Accident Lawyers

Obtaining a car accident report is pretty straightforward and painless — which is a good thing considering how important it is to your Georgia car crash case. If you have recently been in a car accident in Georgia and think that you may want to file a personal injury claim, it’s best to seek out an experienced legal professional. Contact Williams Elleby to schedule a free consultation by calling 833-LEGALGA.