If you’ve been injured in an auto accident and wish to press charges, a police report is one of the most valuable documents you can have for yourself, your insurance company, and your attorney.
Police accident reports are exactly what they sound like – an officer arrives at the scene of a car crash and conducts a general investigation. These reports are crucial for insurance carriers, as they contain information that is valuable for insurance companies to conduct their own mandatory investigation.
Police accident reports are also helpful in carrying out settlement negotiations between insurance carriers and as evidence in small claims courts.
Insurance carriers may try to deny your claim, so if you’ve been injured in a car accident, contact an experienced lawyer at Get Car Accident Money today. We’ll negotiate your case and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
What’s included in a police report?
As well as general facts and information about the crash, police reports contain the opinions of the investigating officer about who or what caused the accident. All of this information helps establish your personal injury claim. Car crash reports include:
- Date, time, and place.
- Description of road conditions. This includes lighting, roadway, and weather conditions.
- Description of the drivers and vehicles involved. This includes names, addresses, contact, and insurance information.
- Details of the crash. This part of the report will include the location of the damage on the vehicles, as well as the officer’s notes on their determination of fault. It is important to remember that the officer’s determination of fault is an opinion.
- A diagram of the accident scene. In a police accident report, the officer will fill out a small rendering of the crash scene. It includes directions and positions of the involved vehicles as well as the names of streets.
- Notes of property damage. The report will include a description of the extent of any property damage, including to your vehicle and its contents.
- Witness statements. People’s memories can be flawed, especially in traumatic circumstances, so it’s helpful for police officers to ask several bystanders and witnesses of their account of the accident to get a comprehensive idea of what happened.
How do I get a police report?
There are two ways to get a police report for a car accident: through the police department or your insurance company.
- Obtaining a copy of the report from the police department. When a police officer arrives at the scene of an accident and drafts a report, they will usually give you a receipt with the report identification number. If you would like a copy, call the traffic division of the law enforcement office that created your report and pay an administrative fee, most of which cost around $15. You will then have an official copy of the car crash report which you can use in your insurance claim or small claims court.
- Obtaining a copy of the report from your insurance company. This is another viable option for getting a copy of the report, and one which shouldn’t cost you any money. Call the claims representative at your insurance company to find out if they requested the report from the police department to conduct their own investigation of the crash. They may not have it, but if they do you won’t have to pay.
How can a car accident police report can help?
Other than providing important details of the crash, police reports can be valuable tools in settlement negotiations. As representatives of the company, insurance adjusters value police reports highly. Your lawyer can leverage the report to convince the adjuster that the other driver was at fault, therefore giving you a larger settlement.
A police report could also help your car accident attorney find helpful evidence for your case. Attorneys conduct their own investigations, so a car crash report could help them find other witnesses, more information, and other potentially liable parties.
Although car accident police reports are invaluable resources, they have their legal limits. By definition, police reports are hearsay. Hearsay refers to an out-of-court statement made by someone other than the witness used to prove the truth of an argument – someone without direct knowledge of what happened. Statements that are ruled as hearsay are not permissible in court, mainly because they are considered to be unreliable pieces of information.
However, a police report may be used as evidence in small claims courts only. Individuals in small claims courts are not expected to know all the rules of court, so most judges will allow plaintiffs to submit a police report as evidence in these situations.
The claims process is a confusing and daunting one; it is in your best interest to hire an experienced car accident lawyer to help with insurance and legal matters involving your claim. Contact Get Car Accident Money today for a free case consultation.
Contact Get Car Accident Money Today
The scene of a car crash can be chaotic. People may be injured, vehicles damaged, and traffic backed up for hours. If you were injured in a car crash, there will be plenty to think about. However, you can make the litigation process much easier if you obtain a copy of the police report.
If you were injured in a vehicle collision, call the police. Then call an experienced car accident attorney at Get Car Accident Money. We’ll fight for the compensation you need after being injured in an auto accident. Contact us today.