Unfortunately, you were involved in a car collision as a driver, passenger or pedestrian. The investigating officer arrived at the scene of the car wreck; performed an investigation; and then spoke to you and stated that you could pick up your Georgia Uniform Accident Report (GUVAR) either in person or on-line within several days. If you chose to obtain your car accident report on-line, then you probably read my blog regarding how to buy your report over the computer. However, the police agencies that utilize www.buycrash.com in Georgia typically do not offer the Georgia Uniform Vehicle Accident Report Overlay with the report. Yet, you can typically pick up the overlay form at the police station.
What is the overlay and what does it have to do with your car accident report? The overlay is broken down into twenty-one (21) separate categories that function to provide crucial information regarding the who, what, when, where and why of car crashes in Georgia. The categories are as follows: alcohol and/or drug test given, type test, driver condition, direction of travel, vision obscured by, vehicle condition, vehicle maneuver, pedestrian maneuver, first harmful event/most harmful event, contributing factors, vehicle class, vehicle type, traffic control, cargo body type, vehicle configuration, traffic-way flow, weather, surface condition, light condition, manner of collision, location at area of impact, road composition, contributing road defects, road character, damage to vehicle, age, sex, taken for treatment, injury code, construction/maintenance zone codes, ejection, safety equipment, extrication, air bag function, seating position and points of initial contact.
For the experienced personal injury attorney, some categories are more important than others.
The alcohol or drug tests category details whether or not the driver(s) consented to such a test. This information is important because a positive test could lead to jail time and an opportunity for the injured driver or passenger to pursue punitive damages against the at fault driver. If the driver refuses, then under Georgia law, the driver is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The next category is the Type Test that was administered on the driver(s) including blood, urine and/or breath. Driver Condition relates to whether or not the driver was under the influence of drugs/alcohol or physically impaired. A positive condition would lend credence to liability or fault for the wreck.
The Direction Of Travel is self-explanatory. Vision Obscured By pertains to whether natural or unnatural obstructions played a role in the wreck. I find this category helpful when it indicates that the vision of the driver at fault was not obscured in any manner and therefore has no excuse for lack of vision prior to the wreck. Vehicle Maneuver indicates the movement or lack of movement of the vehicles/truck involved in the wreck at the time of impact.
Similarly, Pedestrian Maneuver indicates the presence of a pedestrian and the exact movement or lack of movement of the pedestrian at the time of the incident. Typically, if a pedestrian is involved in the impact, then the damages and injuries to the pedestrian could be great.
First Harmful Event/Most Harmful Event is broken down into three (3) subcategories: Non-Collision, Collision With Object Not Fixed and Collision With Fixed Object. This is a description of the nature and movement (or lack thereof) of the object that the vehicle or truck first struck in the impact, such as, overturn (a non-collision), motor vehicle in motion (collision with object not fixed) and guardrail (collision with fixed object).
The Contributing Factors category describes 28 different factors that contributed to the crash or wreck including but not limited to, DUI, exceeding speed limit, surface defects, distracted, etc. As a plaintiff’s attorney, I really like this category as it provides some meat to the case in terms of police investigation and determination of fault of one or more drivers. Typically, my injured clients have no contributing factors to the car wreck.
Vehicle Class describes the ownership of the vehicle. Vehicle Type describes the type of the vehicle involved in the crash such as passenger car, tractor/trailer and van. Traffic control indicates whether stop signs, traffic signal devices, lanes, lights or other signage was present in the area of the car accident. Cargo body type indicates the nature of the cargo body of the truck involved in the collision such as bus, dump truck and cargo tanker. Vehicle Configuration pertains mainly to configurations of buses, trucks and tractor-trailers.
Traffic- Way Flow indicates the nature and manner of how the traffic was directed and/or moving in the area of the collision. Examples include two-way traffic with or without physical separation and one-way traffic ways. The category of Weather pertains to the physical condition of the weather at the time of the wreck and NOT the condition of the road. Surface Condition identifies the specific condition of the roadway at the time of the crash including sleet, clear, dry rain, snow, etc. I find this category to be helpful in pinning liability upon the at fault party. If the road condition was dry, then weather cannot be used an excuse to mitigate fault.
Lighting Condition indicates the level of light at the time of the vehicle incident. The Manner Of Collision describes the manner in which the collision occurred, such as, rear end, head on, sideswipe, etc. Location At Area Of Impact indicates where the vehicle was located at the time of wreck. Road Composition is self-explanatory. Contributing Road Defects indicates whether the officer thought that the roadway contributed to the collision and would include such defects as standing water, running water and holes. Road Character describes whether the road was straight or curved and whether the road was level, graded or on a hill crest.
Damage to Vehicle provides the investigating officer with 5 different choices as to the damage done to the vehicles or trucks as a result of the crash or impact. The decision of the officer as to the level of damage is clearly subjective and would vary from officer to officer. I find this category to be useful for a quick first glance reading of the damage to the cars before I am actually able to see the photographs of the damage. Age pertains the age of the driver, passenger or pedestrian involved in the incident. Sex is self-explanatory.
Taken For Treatment indicates whether or not the driver, passenger or pedestrian was taken for medical treatment as a result of the crash. Injury Code indicates whether the specific driver, passenger or pedestrian was injured as a result of the wreck. The subcategories include not injured, killed, serious, visible or complaint. Construction/Maintenance Zone Codes are self-explanatory. Ejection refers to whether or not the driver(s) and/or passengers were ejected outside of the vehicle at the time of impact of the crash. Safety Equipment category describes whether or not the driver(s) and passengers used seat belts, child seats or helmets. Extrication pertains to whether or not the driver(s) and/or passengers had to be physically moved or removed from the damage vehicle. Air Bag Function is self-explanatory. Seating Position describes the location of the driver and any passengers. Finally, Points Of Initial Contact describes the area and side of the vehicle where the impact first occurred in the wreck.
Now, that you know how to interpret and read the Georgia car accident report along with the use of the overlay, you will be in a better position to understand and advocate as to fault and other aspects of the car collision. If you were injured in a vehicle as the result of the fault of someone else and have any questions regarding your car accident report OR want to run something by an car accident attorney that was listed as a Super Lawyer in Georgia, then please feel free to contact me and I will be glad to help you.
The Law Offices of Kevin C. Ford is currently accepting car and truck collision and pedestrian injury cases throughout Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of the negligence of a negligent driver, then please contact us today for a free consultation and evaluation of your case. We have over 24 years experience and practice throughout the State of Georgia and can come to you. Please call 404-869-6969 or use our toll free number (855) LAW-FORD to secure your rights today!