Medical facilities, auto repair shops, and law enforcement agencies are the three primary sources of documentation for someone who has been in a car accident. These are documents of paramount importance for all future claims that may range from various insurance claims to personal injury and/or wrongful death claims against the party at fault. In this post, we will be focusing on both how to obtain, as well as what to expect from a car accident police report.
How to Report a Car Accident to the Police
If you are involved in a car accident where people (including or excluding yourself) were injured and/or killed, you should call 911, the local emergency line, or the highway patrol for assistance right away. In most cases, that alone should be sufficient for a police report to be generated. Even if you are not in a state to specifically ask for a police officer on the line, it is mandatory for the responding emergency services to inform the police. Therefore, a police record should be there for you to collect at a later time, as long as any emergency responder was informed adequately.
In some cases, no police officer may attend an accident scene if there is an ongoing emergency of greater seriousness that needs them more. Officers may, at times, decide not to attend the scene if no one was seriously injured and/or killed in the accident. It would be best if at least one police officer came to the scene to make a detailed record of the incident. Therefore, if you are the one making that call, it’s important to clarify and communicate the seriousness of the accident and the injuries received by those involved in it.
In situations where an accident was not reported to law enforcement right away for some reason, it can be quite problematic later. If a situation feels too dangerous to stick around, and you have no choice but to drive away from the accident scene to ensure safety, head towards the nearest police station to report the incident directly. The same would be applicable if the accident location did not have cell signal strong enough for you to inform law enforcement.
How to Obtain a Car Accident Police Report
If there is any police record of a car accident that you are involved in, you have the legal right to ask for a copy of that report. When the officer arrives, ask for their name, badge number, and their police station’s contact number if you are able. You will need that information to locate and acquire a copy of the accident’s police report later. If you are not in any state to get their information at that time, check with the attending medical facility. Details about the concerned law enforcement agency should be logged into their records.
In case a friend or a family member is present on your behalf, they may also have the necessary information to contact the attending police officers. It’s possible that your emergency contact(s) also received a call from the police department to inform them about the accident. In most cases, the caller will also leave the necessary info for future correspondence. In any case, once you have the contact details, you should:
- Call the police station or precinct where the incident was reported and recorded.
- If you have name(s) and badge number(s) of the attending officer(s), mention them to know when you can collect your copy.
- If you don’t have access to the above, you may need to supply them with other information such as the accident’s timeline, as well as your license and registration details.
- Present yourself there on an agreed date and time with a valid ID.
- Pay a small fee for the report to obtain a copy.
- If you are unable to be there physically due to your injuries, inform them of the same and ask for alternative options.
What Should be Included in Your Car Accident Report?
As long as you are the one who was wrongfully victimized in the accident, you will want the police report to be as detailed and as accurate as possible. You should expect to see several details regarding the following:
- Date and time of the accident.
- Exact geographic location where it happened.
- Climatic condition and other weather-related factors prevalent at the time of the accident.
- Names, phone numbers, insurance information, license and registration numbers of all drivers involved in the accident.
- Names and phone numbers of passengers and witnesses (if any).
- Witness statement reports (if any).
- Registration details of all vehicles involved in the accident.
- Preliminary damage assessment reports, as observed on each vehicle involved in the accident.
- Preliminary observation reports of the injured and/or deceased individuals, as observed by the police at the scene.
- Primary fault assessment report by the attending officer(s).
As previously explained, a lot depends on the circumstances of the police report. Therefore, the police record may or may not reflect everything mentioned above, but at the same time, the report can include a lot more than just the few main points mentioned here. Either way, it is imperative that you obtain it as quickly as possible.
How Can a Police Report Help You?
A factually accurate insurance claim that aligns with the police report expedites the processing speed in most situations. If you believe that some of the details in the police report are not in alignment with what actually happened, it may still be possible to have it amended with legal assistance.
If you need to seek compensation for your injury beyond what your insurance policy can cover, you will be required to file a personal injury claim against the party at fault. Provided that the police report factually supports your statement’s accuracy, it will add more weight to your claim, giving our lawyers significant leverage to work with during negotiations. For more information on how to leverage a supportive police report and speed up the insurance claims process, consult with our personal injury lawyers at the Mass injury Group.
You can find us at 15 Broad St #800 Boston, MA 02109.
Call now for a free consultation on (617) 263-0860.