Police Reports are Crucial Components of Car Accident Claims
After a car accident, many people think that the most important step is to exchange contacts and insurance information with the parties involved. However, one of the most overlooked steps is collecting the police report.
Over 240,000 road accidents are reported to the police every year. Therefore, the chances that a police officer will remember your crash without a police report are very low.
Even if the accident is minor, reporting it to the authorities saves you a lot of money and embarrassing blushes later on. The law makes it mandatory for you to report the accident to the police immediately it happens.
New Haven personal injury lawyers will tell you that the police report helps you get justice done. So, before you collect your personal items and leave the scene of the report, try and get your hands on a copy of the police report. The police understand that you need a copy and will willingly hand it over to you.
Filing an Accident Report
You don’t need to leave the scene of the accident to file the report – a call to 911 can kick start the process. However, proper timing is also of the essence in these matters. The earlier you make the call, the faster the police show up and the higher the chances that they will be able to collect the information you need to claim for compensation.
When the police officers arrive, they take time to investigate the incident to try and determine who is liable for the accident. The officer notes down vital details regarding the accident.
Some of the information that the officer collects include:
- The date and time that the accident occurred, noting the weather and road conditions
- Personal information from everyone involved in the accident, including the names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance details
- Individual statements from the parties involved
- Vehicle information and the associated damage
- The contact information of witnesses as well as their statements
- Injuries that have been sustained
- Pictures of the scene of the accident
While it is not a good idea to talk to many people after the accident, it might be a good idea to record a statement with the police. While at it, be careful not to admit fault.
The involvement of the police is crucial; therefore, don’t forget to note down their names and badge numbers so that you can follow up with them later on.
The Importance of Filing an Accident Report
Here are a few benefits of filing an accident report with the police immediately after an accident happens:
It Helps to Establish What Happened
Because it is coming from a credible source, the accident report establishes what happened, identifies potentially who was liable, and provides any relevant information to the court.
Even if you were at fault, having a police report can help protect you from paying more than what you are required to.
Without a report, the insurer might question whether the accident happened or not.
It Provides Details of the Parties Involved
After a minor accident, most people share contact information and that’s it. What if you need to file a claim for compensation and can’t get to the other driver? How can you prove that he was the one behind the wheel when the accident happened?
The police report lists down the drivers involved and any witnesses that saw what happened. It also gives the names of the police officers who responded so that you can make a follow-up on the claim.
The police report gives your New Haven personal injury lawyers the information to ensure you are filing a claim against the right person.
It Gives the Police Officer a Reference Point
Police officers handle many accidents each day. The odds of the officer remembering your accident is minimal. A report gives the police officer a reference point when the time comes for him to testify in court.
What Do We Think?
As skilled New Haven personal injury lawyers, our opinion is that you should always call 911 and make an official report of the crash, even if it is minor. While you can still file a claim without this report, it adds to the credibility of your story and gives us the information to use to understand what happened.