What to Keep in Mind When Reporting a Car Accident

Documenting a car accident immediately by contacting the police and filing a report is absolutely vital. While it is legally mandated in many states, some states don’t require their police officers to be present at the accident site, which leaves the parties involved in the accident with some very important decisions to make. The most important decision is whether or not to call the police if the accident is not severe. However, whether it is a serious accident or not, it’s highly advised that you call the police and let them decide whether they need to show up at the scene or not. If you are unsure about what to do in such a horrific situation, the following guide will help you out. 

Why you Need to File a Police Report

Reporting the accident is so important because the documentation the police get from the accident site is very crucial for your case. It will provide enough evidence to prove your innocence and hold the liable driver responsible, which will come in handy when filing an insurance or personal injury claim. You might not notice any health problems or injuries at the time of the accident, but if you discover any damage later, your insurance company might not help you if the accident was not reported within 24 hours of its occurrence. 

A typical police report of a car accident will have the names of both parties and their contact information, which is very important for any you claim you make after the accident. The report will also have documentation of where the accident took place and what happened to cause the accident as per the findings of the legal investigation and the citations received. All this information will be needed when you make an insurance or a personal injury claim to prove your injury and the liability of the other driver. 

How to File a Car Accident Report

After the police show up at the scene, they will check your mental state to decide whether you are ready for the investigation or not because most car accident victims suffer from traumatic shock immediately after the incident. Next, the police officer will question the drivers and passengers involved in the crash, in addition to any witnesses present at the scene. They will gather information about the vehicles involved and check for any damage they sustained. If necessary, emergency services will be called in for the victims. Lastly, the officers will serve all the guilty parties with violation tickets. 

The police officers will then write a complete detailed report of the incident, mentioning all the information they obtained at the scene. As explained in this useful guide on accident reports in Detroit, this report can be used in court, if necessary, to determine the driver responsible for the accident. Your insurance company will also use the report to prove the damage when you submit a claim. 

How to Obtain the Police Report 

As mentioned above, people need to obtain a police report after being involved in a car accident to use either in court, insurance claims, or a personal injury claim. To get a copy of the report, you will need to get in touch with the police department that was responsible for reporting your accident and submit a request for the report. This is done through an application that you have to fill in-person, through the mail, or online through the police department’s website. Some police departments don’t have a website, though, so they would require you to show up in person or send them the application by post. Obtaining the police report is a service that can cost up to $25 and might take up to 2 weeks for the report to be delivered to you, so make sure you request it early so you can file a personal injury claim or lawsuit and receive the compensation you deserve before the statute of limitations expires. 

In some cases, you might need to hire a specialized attorney to obtain a police report on your behalf, but it’s usually simple and easy to obtain on your own. If you happen to remember any additional information about the accident after the report is filed, make sure to contact the police department and provide them with the extra details, even if you feel like it won’t add much to the case. It’s very important to document every little detail because any proof can be used to your advantage when claiming compensation or proving that the accident was not your fault.