If you are involved in a car accident that seems minor, you may think it is unnecessary to get a police report. However, it is important to get a police report after any accident, major or minor, because this report may help you build a strong case for compensation for your damages.
Below, learn more about what goes into a police report and why it is usually a good idea to call the police after a crash. If you were injured in a car accident, schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our firm to learn more about your legal rights.
Benefits of a Police Report
A police accident report contains a great amount of details related to the collision. It may also include the officer’s opinion of the accident’s cause. This information may be greatly valuable as you pursue a claim for compensation.
The information and opinions in the police report carry a lot of weight with insurance adjusters as your claim is evaluated. Your attorney may use its contents to try to convince the insurance adjuster the other driver was at fault.
As an accident is investigated by your attorney, the police report is often a starting point. The information contained in this report can point your lawyer to other evidence that may help him or her build your case.
If your claim goes to trial, the responding police officer may be asked to testify. The officer may use the details of the police report to recall what happened and present his or her observations to the court.
What Info Does the Officer Gather?
A variety of important information is gathered by a police officer responding to a car crash, which may include:
- Date and time the accident occurred
- Location where the accident took place
- Personal details of drivers, passengers and others involved
- Statements from those involved in the accident and witnesses
- Vehicle information such as make, model, year and color
- Description of property damage to vehicles and other items
- Road and weather conditions when the accident occurred
- Violations that may have contributed to the accident, like speeding or failure to yield
- Photos of the accident scene and involved vehicles
- Diagram of the accident scene
If anyone was injured in the accident, the officer may also follow up with victims at the hospital to gather information about their injuries.
Obtaining a Copy
The official police report is not always prepared at the scene of an accident. When an officer responds to an accident, he or she gathers the information above then files an official report later. If your accident is minor, you may be given a copy by an officer at the accident scene. For more complicated accidents, the report simply may not be ready for you by the time you are released from the scene of the crash.
Before you leave the scene of the accident, ask the responding officer for the service number of the police report. With this information, obtaining a copy of the finished report is much simpler. If you do not have the service number, you will need to provide:
- Your identifying information
- Location of the accident
- Date and time the accident occurred
The police report is typically ready a few days after the accident. Requesting the police report is one of the adjuster’s first steps after filing a claim and if available, they will typically send you a copy for free.
You may also request a copy from the police department that took the report. There may be a small fee to pay. Some police departments allow you to request a copy online – if not, call the police department for instructions on how to obtain a copy.
Contact Us If You Have Been Harmed in a Car Crash
If you were injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Goldberg Finnegan’s Silver Spring car accident lawyers fight to recover the maximum compensation for accident victims.
The initial consultation is free, there are no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.