If you’ve recently been in a Georgia auto accident, it was probably investigated by an officer, and a GUVAR or Georgia Uniform Vehicle Accident Report was filed. You may have even already obtained this report from the police station or online. What you probably haven’t received is the overlay. In fact, there’s a good chance you don’t know anything about the overlay.
You can get it, on request, from the police station, but understanding what it is, why you need it, and what it has to do with the actual accident report is a whole other matter, a matter that we’re going to address today in this post.
Information Provided by the GUVAR Overlay
The GUVAR overlay is a document that provides important information about your auto accident, including who was involved, what factors were involved, where it happened, when it happened, and why it happened. There are 36 different sections in this report to indicate the various details of the auto accident you were involved in. These sections include:
- 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: Non-Collision
- Contributing Factors
- Vehicle Class
- Vehicle Type
- Traffic Control
- Cargo Body Type
- Vehicle Configuration
- Traffic-Way Flow
- Surface Condition
- Light Condition
- Manner of Collision
- Location at Area of Impact
- Road Composition
- Contributing Road Defects
- Road Character
- Damage to Vehicle
- Taken for Treatment
- Injury Code
- Construction/Maintenance Zone Codes
- Safety Equipment
- Extrication (equipment used)
- Air Bag Function
- Seating Position
- Points of Initial Contact
Each of the above sections has a variety of numbered options for the investigating officer to indicate the different variables. For instance, the Weather section includes the options of clear, cloudy, rain, snow, sleet, fog, and other (see https://actar.org/pdf/ga_ovl2.pdf).
Depending on the details of your auto accident, some sections of the GUVAR overlay will be more important and relevant than others. If the weather was indicated as ‘clear,’ then this won’t have much to do with your case. If it was indicated as ‘fog,’ then this could be quite relevant. Following, we’ll look at some of the more important categories in the GUVAR Overlay.
Alcohol and Drug Test Plus Driver Condition Sections
In the sections for Alcohol and/or Drug Test Given and Type Test, you will find some very important information if your incident involved intoxicated driving or the accusation thereof. When it comes to whether or not the test was given, the options are yes, no, and refused. This shows whether or not the driver consented to the test.
The Type Test section then indicates whether the test was a blood test, a breath test, a urine test, or other. Here, it is important to be aware that refusing a test, according to the law in Georgia, allows for the presumption of intoxication.
Next, the Driver Condition identifies whether the driver was impaired in any way, and is relevant to determining if that driver was at-fault in the incident.
Vision Obscured By and Maneuver Sections
The section titled Vision Obscured By is important because it reveals whether or not your vision was obscured by anything at all and what, specifically it may have been obscured by. This can let you know whether or not the at-fault driver has an excuse for any negligent driving behavior.
The Maneuver sections (Vehicle Maneuver and Pedestrian Maneuver) let you know how the vehicle was moving (if it was moving) and how any involved pedestrians were moving, both of which are useful in establishing fault on the part of the driver, or even the pedestrian.
First Harmful Event/Most Harmful Event Section and Subsections
The section titled First Harmful Event/Most Harmful Event has three subsections. These are Non-Collision, Collision with Object Not Fixed (moving object), and Collision with Fixed Object (non-moving object). Each of these sections are important because they tell you exactly what the vehicle collided with and whether it was a moving or non-moving object, if it even was a collision. Some accidents do not involve a collision, such as overturn accidents and explosions.
28 Potential Variables in the Contributing Factors Section
The 28 variables listed in the Contributing Factors section of your GUVAR Overlay are very important in determining liability because they include things like DUI, failure to yield, following too close, exceeding speed limit, distracted driving and cell phone use, and improper passing, to name a few. Naturally, this can give a much clearer picture of fault in a Georgia auto accident.
Road Composition and Contributing Road Defects Sections
The Road Composition section tells you what kind of road you were on at the time of the accident, whether it was concrete, gravel, or dirt, or example. The Contributing Road Defects section can be very relevant to your case because it lets you know if there were not any contributing road defects or if there were pot holes in the road, loose material, standing water, or even construction issues that contributed to the incident.
Damage to Vehicle plus Treatment and Injury Sections
Finally, the sections concerning Damage to Vehicle and the Treatment and Injury of victims are relevant in establishing the severity of the property damage as well as whether or not anyone was injured, whom was injured (including general age and sex), how severe those injuries were, and whether the injured persons were taken for treatment.
The Ejection section refers to whether or not anyone was ejected from the vehicle (fully or partially), or was trapped. There is a Safety Equipment section to address what safety equipment was used, such as seat belts, child safety seats (properly or improperly used), and helmets in cases involving bicycles or motorcycles. Then, there is a section to indicate whether or not equipment was required to extricate any victims from the vehicle and section concerning whether or not the vehicle had airbags and whether those airbags deployed.
Making Use of This Information in Your Georgia Auto Accident Claim
If you’ve been in a Georgia auto accident, then much of this information is going to be relevant and necessary in establishing what happened and how it happened, as well as who is at fault for the incident. Contact the compassionate Georgia auto accident lawyers at the Law Office of John B. Jackson & Associates to learn more about how we can make use of all of this information in your Georgia auto accident claim.