Do You Need to Document Your Accident With a Police Report?

gumby_police_officer.jpg Chances are that you or someone you know was the victim of theft or involved in a car accident, but did not file a police report. Many find that waiting for the police to arrive and completing the report to be a cumbersome process and would rather heave a sigh of resignation and move on with their day. However, it may be worth the time to file a police report if you want to support your claim to your insurance company. Moreover, a police report could also come in handy during the investigation process if you have a personal injury claim against the other driver, even if it may be inadmissible in civil court due to hearsay rules.

In the case of an accident, a police officer will usually document the date and time of the accident, weather and lighting conditions, road signs/signals, and any other physical or circumstantial evidence that appears relevant to the officer. The officer may also document the name and contact information of known witnesses and take pictures of the scene of the accident, including damage to property. It will also indicate whether anyone was injured and whether emergency services were called to the scene. The police officer will assess the evidence and testimony of those involved and may explain in the report who the officer believes to be at fault.

It is advisable to compose yourself before you report your version of the facts, remembering that the police officer is documenting what you say. If you have a camera available you may also want to take photos of the scene and of property damage and injuries.

For insurance purposes, a police report could be crucial to documenting liability and property damage. Some insurance companies may even require a police report be filed after the fact if one was not completed initially. If you suffered injuries and pursue a personal injury claim, you will want to provide a copy of the police report to your car accident attorney. The police report itself will probably not be submitted into evidence but the information available in the report is a good jumping off point for investigation. Your attorney may use the police report to locate witnesses, as well as the officer who wrote the report. It will also have contact information for the other driver’s insurance policy. Initially, the report may alert your attorney to significant factors that had bearing on the accident. Your attorney may use the report later to bolster your position in negotiations with the opposing party. Finally, your attorney may hire an accident reconstruction expert who can use the report as a starting point for recreating the circumstances of your accident.

It is important to seek the advice of an attorney that can use the available information and evidence to your best advantage. The Brod Law Firm is committed to providing an impeccable level of service to its clients and pays close attention to the evidence in each case it handles because there is no such thing as a cookie cutter case. Please contact the Brod Law Firm today for a free consultation.