Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident
People often assume that it is not necessary to file a police report after a car accident, especially if they have been involved in a minor car accident. But this is not the case. When you decide to seek compensation for sustained injuries, property damage, and other damages, your case will be stronger with a copy of a filed police report. Car accident lawyers will want a copy of your police report when you decide to file a lawsuit for compensation for your injuries. There will be other circumstances where a police report is helpful, as well. When you have gone through an auto accident, your adrenaline is surging. After you have calmed down and left the scene, you may start to experience symptoms of injury that you had not noticed while dealing with the wreck's immediate after-effects. Not all injury symptoms present immediately, as well. Some require time to worsen and present signs of what your body has gone through. You may experience intense pain later, even after a day or so following the accident. Having a police report and ensuring you seek medical attention when needed is important for your case. Documentation resulting from these actions are solid proof of your injuries and damages, helping you gain the compensation you need and deserve to cover these costs. So you should always protect yourself and your claim by always filing a police or accident report, even if you believe at first the accident is only minor.
Understanding the Importance of a Police Report
Beyond providing accurate and impartial third-party documentation of the accident, a police report can be extremely effective as evidence. It represents an unbiased view of the incident that can be more effective as evidence than victims' and the at-fault party's own retelling of the story. The police report is needed by insurance companies involved in a claim and if or when you decide to file a personal injury legal case, having a police report will help your position in many ways.
Information a Police Report Provides
As mentioned previously, a police report is unbiased. It is the viewpoint of a law enforcement officer who is not invested in who is right or wrong in the occurrence of an auto accident. Instead, this officer provides an objective view of multiple factors of the car collision, including:
- The precise location of the car accident's occurrence
- Date and time the auto accident occurred
- Damage to vehicles and other property as a result of the accident
- Injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or others
- Statements and identifying information of witnesses to the crash
- Statements of drivers regarding their perspective of the accident
- Environmental information from the time of the accident
- Other important facts
Having a police report in evidence for your case supports your claim and can vastly improve your chances of successfully obtaining the compensation you deserve, as a victim of another party's fault or negligence. If you are the driver determined to be at fault, you still need to have a police report of the accident. When the other driver makes a claim or tries to fake aspects of the accident, having a filed police report copy will prove very helpful and may keep you from having to pay for a false injury. Regardless of which side of legal case you are on after an auto accident, as plaintiff or defendant, having a police report will serve you well. Having an official document is certainly always favorable, as it is seen as being more accurate at face value in the opinion of everyone involved and a jury. Having a law enforcement officer's opinion of the accident is helpful.
How to File a Police Report
Now that you know that a police report is important for your case, you may wonder how a police report is filed. Here are the steps to ensuring your auto accident has a police report on file:
- Call police immediately upon being in an accident, at the scene. This should be your first call.
- Discuss your accident's details with the officer and answer the series of questions he or she asks during an interview. The other drivers and witnesses will also be interviewed for the officer to determine the cause of the accident.
- Ensure you get a copy of the accident report from police. When police have filed the report, usually within hours or a day, you should request a copy to be sent to your insurance provider. Also, gain a copy for your own records.
Get the Legal Help You Need for Your Auto Accident Case
If you are filing a personal injury claim against an at-fault party in your accident, it is important you have solid, experienced legal guidance for your case. If you are uncertain when to get a lawyer for an auto accident, bear in mind that a statute of limitations will apply. Get started on your case right away with a free consultation.
Article written by Attorney Aaron Crane. Aaron Crane has been helping personal injury clients for over 14 years and is highly trained in all areas of injury law, car accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, injury tort and other areas. Over his career, Aaron has recovered over 10 million dollars in settlements for his clients.