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Why do I need a police report (aka Uniform Crash Report)?

1 Aug 2017

If you’re ever in a car accident, one of the most important things you can do is file a police report. Even if there were no injuries, and the damage to your vehicle is minimal, you still need that report. You might think of the police report as your first line of defense, for a number of reasons. Several of those reasons are described below.

Protect Yourself

When you’re involved in a car accident, you need to be thinking about what the other driver might do later. After the accident, they may tell you that they’re not going to file a claim. They might even accept responsibility for the accident. However, what they tell you at the scene, and what they actually do, may be two very different things. You never know when the other driver is going to report the accident and file a lawsuit against you. If you haven’t reported the accident, you may find yourself in more trouble than you would have been had you filed a report after the accident. If you’re in a car accident, you need to report it to the police as soon as possible.

Diagram of Accident Scene

It can be difficult to remember details surrounding the accident, especially details like the position of cars, or the names of the side streets. When a police officer arrives on the scene of an accident to take a report, they’ll provide a detailed diagram of the accident scene. The diagram will include the names of streets, where the initial impact occurred, and how the cars came to rest after impact.

Initial Damage Report

After an accident, you might be in too much shock to notice all the damage to your vehicle, let alone the other drivers vehicle. If you contact the police department following the accident, the police report will contain an initial damage report. This information will be beneficial if the other driver tries to claim damages that weren’t apparent at the scene of the accident. The report will also help you document the damages that occurred to your vehicle. It’s important to note that the responding officer will also take pictures of the scene, which will include pictures of the damaged vehicles. If you’re not able to take your own picture of the scene, you may be able to request copies from the police department. You’ll want to provide copies of the pictures to your personal injury lawyer.

Details Regarding People Involved

When you’re involved in a car accident, you’re going to need information regarding the other driver, as well as information regarding the passengers in their vehicles. That information can be difficult to obtain when the other parties aren’t cooperating with you. Once you contact law enforcement, they’ll take care of collecting that information. Your accident report will contain all the information you’ll need regarding the other driver, including their name, driver’s license number, and auto insurance information. You’ll also receive the names of any passengers that might have been in the other vehicle.

Witness Statements

If the other driver is trying to say that the accident was your fault, you’re going to need witness statements. Contact information for potential witnesses can be difficult to obtain, especially if you haven’t been able to identify any of them on the scene. The responding police officer will make contact with potential witnesses, and take statements from them. Those witness statements may be beneficial to you should you need to go to court for the accident.

Officers Description of Incident

When it comes to car accidents, there are going to be differing opinions regarding what happened. Even the passengers may have differing opinions. That’s one of the reasons that you need a police report. Your police report will include the officers description of the incident. This description will take into account all the varying opinions obtained from witnesses, drivers, and passengers. The officers description may be the only unbiased statement regarding the incident. That means it will hold the most weight if a lawsuit is filed in the case.

If you’re involved in a car accident, don’t just trade information and drive away. Call the police and have them come out to the scene. The information contained on the police report will protect you, and provide you with vital evidence should you decide to file a claim against the other driver. After your accident, be sure to contact a personal injury attorney.

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