When you’re involved in an automobile accident, getting a car accident lawsuits is likely the furthest thing from your mind. You have a million things to do as it is, particularly if you need to receive medical treatment.
But once the dust settles, you should make it a priority to get a copy of the police report as soon as possible.
Getting the report is usually easy. You can either ask the local enforcement agency that responded to the accident for a copy or if your insurance agency requested the report, you can ask them to provide you with a copy.
The police report will contain valuable information that can help you in your insurance claim. Or, in a more severe accident, the details could help you in a court settlement.
Let’s look at what exactly is in a car accident police report and how you can use it to help you move forward after an accident.
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What’s In a Car Accident Police Report?
When an officer responds to a car accident, he or she collects specific information from witnesses, those involved in the car accident, and the scene itself.
The officer will take measurements and photos, talk to witnesses, and make notes that will later be drafted into the police report.
The police report will contain the date, time, and location of the accident along with the weather conditions. The officer may note the conditions of the road and lighting.
Officers will document any damage to the vehicles and where the damage is located.
Along with the personal information those involved, the officer will also include witness statements and identifying information.
If the officer issued a citation to any involved parties, this should also be noted in the report.
How to Use a Police Report
Once you have a copy of the report, review it to understand the official version of events.
In a settlement case, the police report can be used as a negotiation tool. Details like injuries, treatment, and citations can be helpful in supporting your demands.
However, if the case goes to court, the police report will not be admissable since the responding officer did not witness when the accident occured.
If you find errors in the report, it’s unlikely that you can get them corrected, but a car accident case attorney can provide guidance on how to proceed.
Bottom Line: Do I Need a Copy of an Accident Report?
Though the car accident police report won’t be admissible in court, it can still help you in the early stages of your insurance claim or settlement.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, it’s important to understand the official version of events so that you know what to expect moving forward.
The other parties and their insurance companies will likely have their own copies, so obtaining one for yourself will even the playing field and give you the best chance of supporting your case.
For more legal tips and insights, make sure you check out the rest of our blogs for more information on car accident lawyers.