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Importance of Police Reports in a Car Accident

Importance of Police Reports in a Car Accident

By
Abasi Major
January 17, 2023

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of property damage and personal injury in the United States. When these incidents occur, all parties involved must take steps to ensure safety and to document the damages. One way to do this is by filing a police report. 

Should You File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

In most cases, filing a police report after a car accident is a very good idea. This applies whether the incident was minor or resulted in serious injury. Even if you don't think there's much damage, it's better to err on the side of caution and document everything that happened in an official report.

Contents of a Police Report for a Car Accident 

By providing a detailed account of all facets of the accident, police reports can be an invaluable resource for insurance companies, courts, and other legal entities who need to know exactly what happened in order to determine liability and offer compensation accordingly.

As such, police reports need to have the following information: 

  • Names of those involved
  • Their addresses
  • Their contact information
  • Make and model of the vehicles 
  • License plate numbers
  • Insurance information for all drivers
  • Witness statements and contact information for any witnesses present at the scene
  • Weather conditions, road conditions, and any other relevant factors that could have contributed to or resulted from the car accident
  • Officer's assessment as to who was at fault in the accident
  • Photographs of the scene or footage from a nearby traffic camera

Why a Police Report is Important in a Car Accident Claim

A police report is an important document that can help substantiate a car accident claim. It includes the details of the crash, such as who was at fault, who changed the lane and what caused the crash, as well as any information about bystanders or witnesses, or other factors such as driver negligence. A police report often contains diagrams of the scene and photographs of the damage incurred. The insurance company will use this information to determine who is liable for the damages.

Having a police report on hand can be especially advantageous if there are any disagreements about fault or responsibility for the accident. With the details outlined in an official report, it can help ensure that an accurate settlement is given and that both parties involved get what they are owed. Insurance companies may not accept an insurance claim without a police report, so make sure you acquire one as soon as possible after the accident.

It can be beneficial to have a copy of the police report for your own records so that you can refer back to it in the future if necessary.  In the event that a dispute arises between two parties, having a copy of the police report can help mediate any disagreements. 

How to File a Police Report for a Car Accident

Filing an accurate police report is often the first step taken towards protecting yourself and any passengers involved in a car accident. To do so, you first need to have all of the necessary paperwork, which includes: 

  • Driver's license and insurance information for all parties involved in the accident
  • Any witness statements related to the accident 
  • Photos of the accident scene 
  • Any police report numbers or citations issued at the time of the crash 

Remember to be as detailed and accurate as possible when providing information for a police report. This includes listing any physical damage to vehicles, injuries sustained by individuals involved, and any other relevant details that could provide an accurate understanding of what took place during the accident. 

Once all of the necessary paperwork is collected, it should be submitted to your local police or sheriff’s department and a report will be filed. If a law enforcement officer was present at the scene of the crash, they may provide you with a copy of their report. 

Keep any copies of the police report and other paperwork related to the accident in a safe location, as it might be needed later for insurance or legal claims. 

If you need help with the process, talk to one of our San Antonio car accident lawyers today. 

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