A serious car accident often seems as if it occurs in the blink of an eye. One moment, you are making your way through a controlled intersection paying attention to the traffic ahead of you, and the next moment, your world is literally spinning after being suddenly rear-ended or t-boned by a negligent motorist.
In the aftermath of devastating car crashes, there are two things that motorists can and should do to protect themselves. The first is to avoid dismissing any initial pain or simply hoping that it will abate on its own. The second is to make sure that an accident report is filed by law enforcement officials, as this can prove to be a vital piece of evidence in the event legal action is pursued.
Here in Tennessee, people can secure a copy of an accident report or request that a copy be mailed to them by traveling to a local branch of the Highway Patrol or office of the local law enforcement agency, and paying a $4 fee.
Interestingly, Tennesseans now have the additional option of securing a copy of an accident report online for a fee of $10.
Earlier this month, the Department of Safety announced that it was joining the ranks of four other states -- Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Kentucky -- by partnering with the company Appriss, Inc. to give people the opportunity to secure accident reports immediately via a secured website 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
"One of our goals is to provide the best customer service to the citizens of Tennessee and to those who travel through our state," said Commissioner Bill Gibbons. "The implementation of this online service will provide the public with a fast, convenient option to obtain crash reports and enhance the efficiency of law enforcement agencies across the state."
The accident reports filed by the Highway Patrol, sheriff's departments and police departments across the state are gathered and stored in the Tennessee Integrated Traffic Analysis Network (TITAN), which is essentially the state's comprehensive traffic safety database. Officials indicate that the increased cost of accessing accident reports online is meant to help defray some of the costs associated with maintaining TITAN.
It should be noted that officials have indicated that accident reports will typically be available online within 7 days of a car wreck.
What are your thoughts on this new online system? Is it long overdue? Would you be willing to spend an extra $6 for immediate access?
Remember, if you have been injured or lost a loved one in a car accident caused by the negligence of another, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced and dedicated attorney.
Source: WTVC, "Tennessee accident reports now available online," Nov. 4, 2013