There are a lot of things that need to be done after an accident. Not only do you have to deal with the shock and start the recovery process or heal from injuries, but you also have to start dealing with the insurance company. One of the first things the insurance company will ask for is a car accident report from the police.
A police report will have important information that you will need in order to get fair compensation after the accident. It helps answer one of the most important questions everyone has after an accident, and that’s what happened.
Getting the Police Report
The police report is typically made by the investigating officer who arrives at the scene of the accident. In the police report, you will find a summary of the crash, including the facts as well as opinions the officer had while he or she was investigating the scene. There is usually a fee to get the report and this can range from $15 to $25. The application to get a copy of the report can be done online, via mail, or in person on the police department website, depending on the different departments. You may have to wait a certain amount of time after the crash in order to access the report. The police will give you a crash receipt after the accident. This isn’t going to be the full report, but it can give you some important information, such as location and date of the accident as well as the other party’s information. If you are having trouble getting the police report then an attorney can help you get this information.
Why Do You Need a Police Report?
The police report contains important information about the case. After the accident, the police take time to investigate the accident, talk to witnesses, inspect the vehicle, and take photos at the scene. This information will be included in the report along with other information, such as approximate location, time, and date of the crash, the contact info for everyone involved including insurance information, and information provided by witnesses. It also includes damage to the vehicles, the conditions of the scene, such as visibility, weather, and state of the road, as well as any violations and citations that were issued at the time. In the police report, there will also be opinions by the police officer as to who may be at fault and what caused the crash. Even though the officer may believe one thing, it’s going to be the insurance company that draws the final conclusion about what happened.
Do You Need a Police Report if No One Was Injured?
If there were no injuries during the accident, you may be wondering if getting a copy of the police report is even necessary. Even if it wasn’t a serious accident, you should still get a copy of the report. The police report can give you the information you need to help strengthen your claim. The insurance company may fight your claim, especially if they consider you at fault for the accident. This is where the report can come in handy.
What if There Isn’t a Police Report for the Accident?
The police are not always going to be able to respond to every fender bender that happens in a private driveway or a parking lot. If the vehicle is damaged in a store parking lot then the police may not come to file a report, especially if there aren’t any major injuries. You will need to take down the information for yourself. The information that is required to file an insurance claim that happened on private property or without a report is going to be the same information that is included in the report. While you may not have a police report, you should still try your best to get all the same information for your personal documentation. The amount of time you have to report an accident to the police will vary by state. Even if you have time to report the accident, according to state laws, you should always report an accident to the police as soon as you can. In some cases, if you take a long time to report the accident then you may need to give extra documentation to prove why you weren’t able to report the accident earlier.
Police reports aren’t automatically going to be sent to the insurance company. This is why you will need to request a copy yourself and send it to the insurance company. When you contact your insurance company, they may ask you to send the report. Even if they don’t ask, it’s still going to help your case to have the report so request a copy as soon as available.