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Using Police Reports After an Accident
After you have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, it will be critical to have a police report that can provide you with information about the crash and, in some cases, details that clarify fault in the accident. Not all car crashes involve police accident reports that are written up at the scene of the collision, but if you suffered significant injuries and property damage, it is likely essential that the police are called to investigate the crash. Ultimately, you may be able to use the police report after an accident when you file an auto insurance claim or when you file a car accident lawsuit.What is a Police Report After a Car Accident?
A police report is a report that is written up by a law enforcement officer who responds to the scene of a motor vehicle collision. Depending upon the severity of the accident, whether anyone was injured, and whether substantial property damage occurred, your accident might not have involved calling the police to the scene. To be clear, each state has its own rules for reporting car crashes to the police or other local law enforcement agencies, and those rules typically concern the seriousness of injuries and property damage. For example, California law requires that all traffic accidents be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 day of the collision if anyone got hurt or if there was property damage that exceeded $1,000. In a situation that requires reporting within that 10-day time window, it is typically a good idea to call the police to the scene of the accident.
Whether you call 911 or call the police department to request that a law enforcement officer arrive at the scene, that officer will write up a report. That police report can be valuable for your case.How can I Use a Police Report After an Accident?
The police report can be very helpful for an injury victim who is filing an auto insurance claim or filing a car accident lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The police report will likely contain a wide variety of information that your car accident lawyer may be able to use to support your claim, such as:
- Time, date, and location of the car accident;
- Detailed information about the parties who were involved in the crash, including their names, physical addresses, phone numbers, and auto insurance;
- Detailed information about property damage to the vehicles involved in the crash;
- Diagram of the accident scene;
- Witness statements;
- Conditions at the scene of the crash, including information about lighting, road conditions, and inclement weather; and
- Information about traffic citations for the crash, including details about citations issued to one or more drivers involved in the collision.
If you are filing a car accident claim or lawsuit, you can request a copy of the police report. You should find out how to request a specific report in your area. In California, for example, you must request a collision report from the California Highway Patrol. Once you receive the police report, your car accident lawyer can review it and can determine how to use the information contained in that report in your case.Contact a Car Accident Attorney About Using a Police Report in Your Case
One of our experienced car accident attorneys can speak with you about the uses of a police report in your crash claim. Contact the Walton Law Firm today to get started on your case.