After a car accident, the police will interview all parties involved and witnesses to compile an accurate report curating how the accident happened and details of the involved parties. The report also features the officer’s conclusions of who was at fault, which can be invaluable if you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation.
How Filing a Police Report for a Car Accident Can Help Your Claim
A police report comes in handy as credible evidence of what happened and will be used by the at-fault driver’s insurance company to process your claim. The report contains a wealth of valuable information that you can use to prove your case.
This information includes:
- Documentation of the accident- a police report contains the date, time, and place of the crash. This information will help you prove the accident occurred should the at-fault driver avoid responsibility by denying the accident.
- Contains contact information– police reports also provide crucial contact information of the other driver and their insurance company. It also contains contact information of witnesses at the scenes of the accident and other vehicle occupants.
- Statements- the responding law enforcement officers will take statements from you and the other driver and document them in their police reports. The statements may provide information on the other driver’s version of what happened. Your attorney can find incriminating statements where the driver admits fault. The officer can also include statements from witnesses that can corroborate the at-fault driver’s negligence.
- Diagrams– the report also contains diagrams that reveal the accident scenes and the point of impact.
- Photographs and videos– police officers also take pictures and videos of the accident scenes and both vehicles, including the damages sustained. These critical pieces of evidence are documented in police reports.
- Citations- police reports also indicate whether any drivers involved in the incident were issued any citations. A citation of the other driver can corroborate that they were negligent.
How Long Do You Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident, and Get a Copy
It’s important to contact the law enforcement officers soon after you are involved in a car accident. If you sustained severe injuries and you can’t do so, have someone contact the police. While contacting the police is not a requirement in some states, it is always important to contact the police and leave them to decide whether to come to the accident scene.
Once the police officers complete the report, request a copy. Typically, there are two methods to obtain a police report:
- Paid copy: request a copy from the local police precinct that drafted the report. You may need to pay an administrative fee which is usually around $15.
- Free copy: to obtain a free copy of the report, request your attorney or claims representative for your insurance company to get one for you.
What To Do if The Police Do Not Come to The Accident
If police officers cannot come to the car accident scene for any reason, you should still report your accident and preserve the important evidence that can help you prove your claims. You can use the Civilian Traffic Collision Report to document the accident. A Civilian Report is an alternative to a police report but designed to be completed by a civilian in a car accident that law enforcement officers did not investigate. Some of the critical information that you must include in the civilian report include:
- Name and address of all parties and their phone numbers, dates of birth, and license numbers
- Vehicle details such as make, model, and license plate
- Registration and insurance information
- Approximate repair cost for the damaged vehicles
- Location of the accident
- Weather conditions
Filing a police report after an accident will help determine the driver at fault to facilitate compensation. Once you receive your copy, go through the details with your attorney to ensure the facts check out.
A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You With Your Claim
The events following a car crash can take a toll on anyone, and it’s important to have a committed personal injury attorney representing you. Working with our experienced attorneys will increase your chances of filing a successful claim and getting fair compensation. Get in touch with us today for a case evaluation.