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How Important Is A Police Report In A Car Accident

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Filing A Police Report After An Accident

Why File a Police Report after a Michigan Car Accident?

In New York, drivers education courses are largely geared toward avoiding an auto accident. There is considerably less instruction on the subject of what to do after an accident.

One of the first steps to take after a New York car crash is filing a police report. Its something you should do after any crash even one that seems insignificant or unimportant.

But what if several days have passed and you realize you never notified the police? Or what if you did call the police but they didnt follow through with a formal report?

Can I still file a police report after the accident? you might ask. Is it too late?

In todays article, we explain:

  • How and where to file a police report after an accident in New York,
  • The difference between a Police Accident Report and a Civilian Accident Report in New York,
  • When an accident report is required under New York law,

and much more. Well also tell you how an experienced Kingston personal injury lawyer at OConnor and Partners can help you take your next steps forward.

Police Reports In Car Accident Cases

When law enforcement is called to the scene of a car accident, the officer will generate a report on the crash. It will contain important information on the facts of what happened as well as the officers impression of who was at fault, among other key issues. You can get the police report for an accident in which you were involved, usually by requesting a copy from the law enforcement agency to which the officer belongs. The officer probably will give you the identification number of the report at the scene, which you will need to make this request. Otherwise, a claims representative at your insurance company may be able to help you get the report.

What If The Police Report Says I Am At

First, we would determine if you were actually at-fault. Police officers are human, and as such, make mistakes. If your police report says you are at-fault and you believe you are not, it could keep you from recovering the compensation you deserve. We will work with accident reconstruction experts to determine exactly how the accident occurred and who is at-fault.

Even if you are partially at fault , because Washington follows a pure comparative negligence law, you can sue the other driver for the percentage of damages he owes you. For example, if you sped through a yellow light when a driver turned in your path, the officer might find you partially at-fault for trying to beat the light.

However, it is important to note that your own percentage of fault will decrease your settlement award and leave you open to a claim against your insurance policy.

Read Also: How To Request A Police Background Check

Getting Your Police Report

Get the business card or contact info of the responding officer. Also, ask when you can expect the accident report to be ready. The office should be able to give you a rough estimate of when it will be ready. Around that time, you can request a copy of the report.

Sometimes, you can get the report online. If there is a website on the business card given to you, be sure to check it. You might be able to simply download the report, and print it yourself.

If youre not able to reach the officer, then a receptionist at the main desk at the police department may be able to help, or you can call the local courthouse and speak to the clerk. If you still cant seem to get any answers, go to your local DMV. They will be able to tell you how you can get a copy of your report.

When Police Arrive On The Scene

Car Accident: Car Accident Police Report Sample

The officer will secure the scene and see to the injured before talking to the drivers. When the officer is ready to speak with you, explain exactly what happened before, during, and after the crash.

Include what you saw, heard, and smelled, such as:

  • The other driver was traveling so fast, you didnt have time to get out of the way
  • You saw the other driver using a cell phone
  • The other car came into your lane of travel
  • You only heard the screeching tires just before impact
  • The other driver came to your car after the crash, and you smelled alcohol
  • The other car didnt have headlights on, or wipers running in the rain
  • You had the green light

Be as detailed as possible, but dont say anything like Im so sorry this happened. Your kindness and sympathy might be construed as an admission of fault.

The investigating officer may take photographs of the scene and damage to the cars.

Police will conduct field sobriety tests if they think alcohol or drugs contributed to the accident, and make arrests for DUI, if necessary. When traffic laws have been violated, the officer may issue tickets to one or both drivers.

The officer will call for a towing company if any of the cars arent driveable, or the driver is incapacitated.

The accident report will include the officers written opinion of the details and causes of the accident, including a description of the at-fault drivers actions that caused the accident, and a drawn diagram of the accident scene and the point of impact.

Also Check: How Do Police Monitor Social Media

The Car Crash Police Report Is Wrong What Can I Do: South Florida Car Accident Attorney Shares Advice

If you were involved in a Florida car accident, and received a police report with factual errors – there are steps you can take to make sure your insurance adjuster gets the correct information.

Maybe your situation went something like this: You were in a car accident in South Florida and you called the police. They took your statement and the statement of the other car’s driver. Finally, you get he police report, but the facts are all wrong.

If youve read our article about Why You Should Call the Police After a Car Accident, then you know how integral the police report is to your car accident personal injury case.

A police report is an important document that insurance companies use to help determine liability and possible negligence in a car accident. But what if the police report does not accurately reflect what happened? What if the report has the facts wrong? If you disagree with the details of the police report after your accident, there are steps you can take to make sure your insurance adjuster gets the correct facts of the case. This can help ensure you dont end up paying for an accident that wasnt your fault, and can help ensure that you still have the ability to seek compensation from the at-fault driver.

How Does The Police Report Impact A Car Accident Claim

After a car crash, its important to get to safety, call 911 and receive any urgent medical care you may need. Responding officers will secure the crash site and begin piecing together what happened with a written accident report. In Georgia, this step is actually required for any crash with injuries or with damage over $500.

The police report is a critical document to your personal injury case. Ideally, it records every detail about the crash, listing witnesses, road conditions and the personal information of everyone involved. Without it, its very challenging to later pursue a personal injury claim.

But what if youre too injured to ensure the police complete a thorough report? Or what if the crash isnt serious and the other driver doesnt even want to call 911?

Also Check: How To Get Full Police Report

Ways To Get Your Police Report

All accident reports in the Commonwealth are maintained by the DMV, and you can contact the DMV to request a copy of your Police Crash Report. There is an $8 fee to request a copy of a Police Crash Report. To request one, simply fill out Form CRD-93 and send it to DMV.

1. Mail: Customer Records Work Center, Room 514Virginia Department of Motor VehiclesPost Office Box 27412Richmond, VA 23269To pay the fee, you must include a check or money order. The DMV does not accept credit card payments via mail.

2. Fax: 367-0390You will need to fill out a “License, ID Card and Records Payment Authorization” and include it in the fax.

3. In-Person: You can request a copy of the Police Crash Report directly from your local DMV. Local offices accept payments in cash, check, money orders, debit, and credit cards.

Police Reports At Trial

Is a Police Report Required to Prove my Auto Accident Case?

Generally, a police report will not be admissible at trial, even though it is a helpful document at the beginning stages of your case. It will not be admissible because it is considered hearsay.

Hearsay is an out-of-court statement that is offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted in that statement. Something is considered hearsay when the person explaining does not have direct knowledge of the incident that occurred. It is specifically excluded from trial proceedings because it is not as reliable as someone who has personal knowledge of the accident. Police reports are usually hearsay because the police often do not witness the accident firsthand.

Even though a police report may not be helpful at trial, it is necessary for the development of your case and in the negotiation process. If you are involved in a car accident, contact Jim Glaser Law today at or fill out our online form to request a free case evaluation.

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File A Personal Injury Claim

If youre injured in a car accident where youre not at fault, you may be able to receive compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, and other damages by filing a personal injury claim. A police report is helpful to your claim because it counts as thorough documentation of the car accident from a reliable, neutral source.

Although a police report wont definitively say who is at fault, it does serve as a major source of information for who could be at fault. Thats why its important to call the police as soon as youve been in a car accident. Police reports are useful for both you and your car accident lawyer in proving your case against a negligent driver.

Getting A Copy Of The Police Report

Some police units may be able to reproduce the police report from their vehicle. However, for other officers, this is not an option. Nonetheless, getting a police report after a car accident is critical.

If you are unable to obtain a copy of the police report at the scene of the car accident, you can request one later. Requesting the report is often as simple as calling the law enforcement agency that was at the site of the crash. You may need to fill out a form with as much information as you know from the incident to obtain the record. Some departments use online forms as well.

Usually, the police department will provide a copy of the record to those who were involved in the accident-free of charge. If you are not involved, and you are asking for a friend or family member, you may need to pay a fee.

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What Does A Police Report Consist Of

When a police officer is filing a report on an accident, they have to include quite a few details, so that the report remains concise. The type of information that will be logged is the date and time of the accident, the location of the accident, any damage that has been done to both vehicles, any injuries either party obtained from the accident, as well as any witness reports from bystanders who witnessed the accident.

What Is In A Police Crash Report

Hit and Run Drivers: NYPD police report = How incompetent ...

A police report will include all the important details about your accident, including:

  • The names, insurance, and contact information of everyone involved in the crash.
  • When and where the accident occurred.
  • If anyone suffered injuries.
  • If anyone suffered property damage.
  • Who the officer believes was responsible for the accident.
  • If either driver committed a traffic violation .

Also Check: How Do Police Know If You Have Car Insurance

How Long After A Car Accident Can You Still File A Police Report

States have their own laws about how soon a police report must be made after a car accident. Most require that the accident be recorded immediately, which is why it’s so important to call the police no matter how minor the incident may seem. Other states, like Ohio, range from a couple of days up to six months. If you are unsure, look at your local laws or call the police and ask if it is necessary.

How Will A Police Report Affect My Claim

The Police Report contains valuable information about the accident and will likely affect ICBCs position regarding your claim. It can therefore be very helpful in personal injury settlement negotiations. The contact information of other motorists and witnesses is also important for conducting further investigations.

While the Police Report is an important document, it is not necessarily determinative of who was at fault for the accident. Typically, the police officer who fills out the report has not witnessed the collision him or herself. The information noted in the report is gleaned from the officers observations of the accident scene and interviews with witnesses. Since much of the officers knowledge was not obtained first-hand, it will often be considered by the courts to be inadmissible hearsay. For this reason, it is important to track down the witnesses who can provide their personal observations concerning the accident.

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What If Someone Insists That You Not Call The Police

There are many reasons why another motorist might not want you to call the police after an accident. The reality is that those reasons will almost always work in their favor. They either dont want the police to be at the scene because they have something to hide like not having a drivers license or driving while intoxicated or it may be that they have tickets on their record and one more will get them in trouble. If a driver offers to settle with you out of court or asks you not to call the police, you now have an even greater reason why you should call the police.

Referring To Traffic Laws

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Traffic laws are in place to protect everyone operating a motor vehicle, as well as pedestrians. Texas laws determine speed limits, identify appropriate ways to pass and change lanes, prohibit driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and even regulate cell phone usage.

Violation of one of Texas traffic laws, as well as the issuance of citations, can help determine the party who may be responsible.

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You Can Request An Amendment To Your Florida Police Report

Because the police report is usually your main piece of unbiased evidence for your insurance adjuster, you need the information in it to be as accurate as possible. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that mistakes happen in police reports. Maybe the responding officer misheard something on the scene, or wrote down the wrong time of day, or even mixed up the make of your car.

If this happens, you must contact the police department through their non-emergency number to ask how to go about getting the report amended. The same officer who wrote the report will most likely be the one to handle the amendment, so it is important to be as polite as possible. We recommend being kind, polite, and asking for help. The fact of the matter is anyone, including police, typically like to be able to help someone when they kindly ask for help. People feel good about helping people. Express your concerns, note any issues, be gracious and ask how they can help you out.

How Do Insurance Companies Use Police Reports

After a car accident, when a claim is reported, the insurance company will conduct its own investigation. One of the first things that an insurance company will ask for is the police report. This is because, as we discussed above, the report contains a vast amount of information pertaining to the car accident.

Sometimes the insurance company and police officer’s opinions are different. This is why there are times when the police report is in your favor in terms of a fault determination, but the other driver’s insurance company still denies your insurance claim.

Learn more about the role of insurance in a car accident case.

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Should You File A Report For Small Accidents

Even if there is only minor damage, it is still smart to file an accident report to record the details. The damage isn’t always clear at the time of the crash, and you might notice added injury or loss at a later time.

You don’t know what the other person in the car accident will decide to do or say after you have left the scene. Filing a report means the police can help make sure the details are correct.

What Are The Benefits Of Filing A Police Report

Car Accident Police Report Sample ...

Here are some of the benefits of filing a police report after a car accident :

  • Reporting : You will have an accurate account of the car accident details. You will have a copy of your car accident police report form.
  • Legal Issues : You are protected if legal issues arise.
  • Proves Fault : It can help prove fault, and prove you are not at fault in an accident.
  • Protection : It helps protect you from a scam or insurance fraud.
  • Law : You may be legally required to file a car accident police report. Dont leave anything to chance.
  • Peace Of Mind : It provides you with peace of mind in knowing you did everything you could.

Also Check: Where To Get Police Report

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