Do Car Accidents Go On Your Public Record in Georgia?

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Accidents are a part of life.

Even if you are always diligent and focused on the task at hand, you can be the victim of an accident due to another individual's negligence. Unfortunately, all you can choose to do is best prepare yourself to handle the aftermath of an accident. 

Subsequently, with accidents tend to come:

  • Injuries
  • Lawsuits
  • Medical Visits
  • Damaged Personal Belongings
  • And more

One thing that many individuals do not tend to consider when involved in a Car Accident is whether or not it is added to your public record. Obviously, if you are discovered not at-fault, then it is not a concern.

However, if you are found to be at fault, whether or not your Car Accident Report ends up in public records could be detrimental. 

Why is this the case?

Why Are Public Records Important?

According to DMV.org, Public Records "It constitutes an official reporting of facts accessible to any member of the community." Essentially, within the idea of civilization, public records are a way of keeping track of individuals and detailing out specific information.

For instance, some of the information within a personal public record include:

  • Name
  • Birthdate or age
  • Address
  • Names of family members
  • Businesses or websites owned
  • Past arrests 

This is just an example of what your record could include; it is not limited to this list.

Items such as your social security, bank account numbers, medical records, and insurance information are not included.

Typically, major milestones or significantly important documents become records such as birth/death certificates, marriage certificates, deeds, voter registration, criminal records, sex offender recording, and driving records.

So, consider the power your public record could hold when applying for a new job or 

However, just because your public record details a lot of personal information, that does not necessarily mean that it is easy to attain.

How to Attain a Public Record

If you live in Georgia, you can go online and visit Georgia State Records to view public records.

According to Georgia State Records, "The main goal of this website is to enable members of the general public the right to access Georgia state public records easily, efficiently and concisely, without the requester having to specify a “need to know.” The law states all public records shall be open for personal inspection and copying, except when the information is covered by a court order of this state or by law."

Now that you know a decent amount of content within public records is free to view, the question still stands, does a car accident go on your public record?

Police Records and Car Accidents

If you are involved in an auto accident, the best course of action is to always call the police.

The police will file a police report which provides the following benefits:

  1. A detailed, honest description of the accident including date and time
  2. Gather information from individuals involved in the accident
  3. Collect evidence and photos
  4. Statements from parties and witnesses
  5. citations and/or violations of the law
  6. Each Individual's opinions as to the cause of the accident and determination of fault

Even though certain aspects may be considered opinion, having an official police report will hold more weight in court, especially when it comes to determining fault. If you do not opt for a report from the police, it can be incredibly difficult to argue your case, especially if the other party is not cooperative or truthful.

However, does this report leak into your Public Record?

The answer is yes.

Your Motor Vehicle Record will include the following:

  • Tickets that have been issued
  • Car Accidents you have been involved in
  • Violation points that have been counted against your license
  • Any suspensions of your license

But can just anyone see this information with ease?

Motor Vehicle Accident Exemption

In the state of Georgia (which may not apply to other states), you must request to view an individual's motor vehicle accident report.

The Georgia Law Enforcement and Open Records Act states that motor vehicle actions are one of the possible exemptions.

A written statement of need is required for someone to gather the motor vehicle accident information report. The following are valid reasons for an individual to obtain a copy of the motor vehicle accident report:

  • An individual who has a business or personal relation to the accident party, or owns property that was damaged in the accident
  • Is a prosecutor or law enforcement officer
  • An attorney who claims they need the report as part of a criminal claim
  • A government agency requesting information as part of official duties
  • Conducting research in the name of public interest, such as accident prevention, prevention of damages or injuries in the case of accidents, determination of fault, or similar purposes
  • Was a witness to the accident or injured in the accident

Important note: This is strictly speaking to the motor vehicle accident report.

Drivers license numbers, vehicle registration numbers, and tag numbers must be disclosed. Also, if the motor vehicle accident results in an arrest or death, these details will be disclosed.

Uniform traffic citations are also disclosed.

According to Digital Media Law, the process in which to request record in Georgia includes: 

  • A statement claiming this is a public records request
  • A clear and coherent description of the records you need
  • A request that any fees be waived on the basis that your specific request is in the public interest, or a description of how you plain to pay the fees
  • A demand that if the agency decides to refuse your request, it cites the specific statutory exemption it relies upon and provides any non-exempt portions of otherwise exempt documents

Your request must either be granted or denied within three business days. 

For more information regarding requesting Motor Vehicle Record and how to make a payment, please click here: DMV Georgia

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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