Being involved in an accident can be a terrible experience. Asides from the possible physical injuries that you may sustain, you may also face other psychological difficulties like anxiety and depression. This may require that you get a lawyer to help you seek compensation for the damages that may have happened as a result of the accident.
To be able to successfully get compensation for your injuries or any damages, a police report is required. The insurance company will usually request a copy of the police report to enable them to carry out their investigation.
In this article, you’ll learn how to obtain a police report after an accident but first, let’s look at what a police report is and how it can help you in the event of an accident.
What is a police report?
A police report is a legal document containing a summary of every possible information gathered about any incident. In the event of an accident, a police report will contain information about the collision, giving a factual account of the accident backed with evidence.
Before the investigating officer leaves the crash scene, they provide a receipt number that the accident victim can use in obtaining a copy of the report. You can also obtain the report by visiting your local police department and providing your name and identification.
A police report can serve as evidence for personal injury lawyers in determining who is at fault in the event of settlement negotiations.
What is contained in a police report?
A police report is created by an officer who performs an accident investigation at the scene of the accident. Usually, this officer is called by either the victim or witnesses at the site of the crash. The officer may also be already present at the scene if the accident happened in his or her area of duty.
The purpose of this investigation is to record facts and determine the cause of the accident. The following facts are usually contained in the police report:
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- The names of all the people involved in the accident. Addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information may be included.
- A brief description of the weather, road condition, lighting, and traffic condition at the time of the accident.
- Eyewitness names and statements.
- A description of the vehicles involved including their type and number plates.
- A diagram or picture of the accident.
- Description of any property damage.
- Injury severity or fatality.
- Documentation of any laws violated
How to obtain a police report after an accident
To obtain a copy of your accident police report, you’ll often need to officially request one from your local police department. You can do this by making a call, sending mail, or visiting the police department that was responsible for the accident investigation you were involved in.
Oftentimes, a small administrative fee of about 15 dollars is required. You can then present the identification number that was given to you by the investigating police at the accident scene. If you do not have this number, you can present your name and details of the crash in order to make your report easy to locate.
You can also get a copy of your police report from your insurance company if they have already gotten it for themselves during an investigation of your claims.
What are the benefits of obtaining a police report?
Obtaining a police report is not compulsory after an accident but it can certainly be of great benefit to you if you do obtain one. Here are some of the benefits of obtaining a police report after an accident.
1. It provides proof that an accident actually happened.
This may sound odd but it is possible for insurance companies to doubt or deny that an accident actually happened in the first place. This can be done to avoid paying a claim for damages. To avoid situations like this, a police report can go a long way in providing evidence that the accident actually did happen.
2. It provides details of the accident including property damages and injury
After an accident, one of the things documented in a police report is details about the damages at the crash site and injuries sustained by casualties of the accident.
These details contained in a police report can be used by a personal injury lawyer when filing a claim from an insurance company. They can also be used when seeking compensation from a driver or pedestrian who is at fault in an accident.
3. A police report provides contact details of everyone involved in the accident
When there is bodily harm or damage to property in an accident, the party at fault is usually liable. This means that they could be responsible for paying compensation to the other party. In some cases, after that first contact at the accident scene, the liable party may not make another contact in a bid to avoid paying compensation.
The police report when obtained can provide enough detail about the liable party and provide the basis on which such party can be taken to court. Without a police report, it can be argued that the accident never happened or that you were at fault. Cruel right? Unfortunately, that’s how the law works.
See also: Should I Get A Lawyer For A Car Accident That Wasn’t My Fault In California?
Being involved in an accident can be overwhelming and sustaining injuries or damages to your property can be even more demoralizing. You’ll have to deal with insurance companies, hospitals, and psychological trauma. One thing you should never forget to do is get the police involved to carry out a proper investigation and have a documented report.
This report can save you a great deal of stress and help your road to healing much lighter. You can have a third party help you through the process of how to obtain a police report if you are in a terrible condition due to the accident.
Always remember to drive within speed limits, walk safely, obey traffic rules and remain safe at all times to prevent an accident from happening in the first place.