Why Is It Important to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?
If there’s one thing that you should absolutely do after a car accident (aside from checking for injuries or property damage), it’s filing a police report. It’s imperative if there are any injured persons or property damage, especially if other people involved are unwilling to cooperate.
A police report also helps establish fault in case of a disputed claim or lawsuit. It prevents potential legal issues down the road.
With no record of the incident, it can be difficult for either side to prove their story if a dispute arises later on.
The police report might serve as evidence in court and can be used for legal proceedings and insurance claims. It will help you protect your rights and receive compensation for damages, medical bills, and lost wages if you cannot work.
What Happens if You Do Not File a Police Report?
Neglecting to file a police report after a car accident may have profound legal consequences.
Depending on your state, failing to report an accident to the police can be considered an offense and could lead to criminal charges. You may also face civil penalties if the other driver files a lawsuit against you.
Additionally, the claims process might be more difficult with insurance companies if there is no proof of what happened in the form of a police report.
In court proceedings, you may be required to provide evidence that you reported the incident to law enforcement officers. This is where a copy of the police report might be crucially important.
What Information Do You Need to Collect for the Police Report?
For the police report, you need to collect the following information:
- The date, time of the accident, weather and other general conditions..
- A detailed description of the incident, including the license plate, motorist, description of the vehicles involved, and a list of witnesses.
- A description of any damages caused by the incident, such as property damage or injuries sustained.
- Any contact information of the people involved (that is, names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.).
- Any relevant evidence collected at the scene (for example, photographs, video footage).
In addition, it is helpful to obtain statements from any witnesses of the incident to support your understanding of what happened before filing a report with law enforcement authorities.
How Do You Obtain a Car Accident Police Report?
If you need to report a car accident and file a police report, here are a few steps you can take:
First, you can either make the report in person or by mail through the city police department where the scene of the accident happened. It might also be possible to make the report via the police department’s webpage.
You may also go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website and fill out a report form.
You’ll need the following information and documents:
- Your driver’s license or identification (DL/ID) card
- Your vehicle’s license plate or vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Your vehicle’s insurance information
- Other party’s vehicle and insurance information, if applicable
In many states, a fee is required when requesting a car accident police report, and it may take some time for the report to be prepared and released by the responding agency.
In some cases, such as when an investigation is ongoing or criminal charges are being pursued, the reports may take longer to become available for release.
What Information Is Found on a Car Accident Police Report?
A motor vehicle accident police report is a document that contains a detailed account of an automobile collision. This document typically includes the report number and information about the drivers involved in the incident, such as their contact details, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
It also includes information gathered at the scene, including details on the time and location of the accident and a description of any damaged vehicles or property.
In some cases, a crash report may include the police officer’s opinion on who may be the party at fault.
The police report will also contain observations by witnesses interviewed at the scene, and the official conclusion of what led to the crash.
How Do Insurance Companies Use Police Reports?
Insurance companies use police reports to determine the cause of an accident. They may look for details such as who was at fault, whether there were any witnesses, the weather conditions at the time of the incident, and other important information.
Police reports are also used to help insurance companies assess liability to determine how much they should pay out in claims. If a police report is unavailable, an insurance company may not cover the claim.
For example, the Insurance Information Institute (III) states, “If someone makes an auto insurance claim for damage caused by a hit-and-run driver, a copy of a police report is usually required before payment can be made.”
Police reports provide insurance companies with valuable evidence about an event for which coverage is sought and can be used to investigate a potentially fraudulent claim.
At Frantz Law Group, we offer personal injury victims the legal representation they need to seek the compensation they deserve. Our team has a history of successfully negotiating with insurance companies on behalf of clients.
Our attorneys understand that dealing with car insurance companies and filing an injury claim can be complicated, so seeking experienced legal help from a trusted law firm is essential.
If You Were Injured in an Accident, You Might Be Entitled to Compensation
Frantz Law Group is an experienced personal injury law firm that works to protect the rights of individuals injured in auto accidents. Our experienced personal injury lawyers are well-versed in this law and can help you navigate the complex legal process necessary to seek the compensation you deserve.
We will help you analyze your insurance policy for any coverage options that might apply to your situation. Our car accident attorneys have extensive experience negotiating with insurance companies to maximize the recovery amount for our clients.
Additionally, we provide free consultations so you can assess your case before pursuing an injury claim.
Our team of experienced car accident lawyers has been successfully representing clients in personal injury cases for decades. Once you hire us, you can rest assured that we have the knowledge and resources to build a strong case on your behalf based on the facts.
Whether you’ve been injured in a car accident or any other type of incident, the personal injury attorneys at Frantz Law Group are here to help you every step of the way.
We have your best interests in hand and will fight to seek the justice you deserve. Contact us today.