Why do I need a police report (aka Uniform Crash Report)?
Car accidents happen all the time, so it’s best to be prepared should you ever become involved in one. For those involved in a traffic accident, some steps should be taken to make sure that you don’t make the situation worse.
- Remain calm.
- Assess the situation. Look for anybody who is injured. Call and wait for emergency personnel.
- Exchange contact information with the other drivers involved in the crash.
If there are no physical injuries, then you’d want to take is to make sure your insurance company reimburses you. You’d want to get an estimate of the vehicle damage by working with insurance adjusters and the insurance companies. If physical injuries are involved, then some form litigation or a lawsuit might ensue. A personal injury lawyer would then be required to successfully execute a car accident lawsuit.
Regardless if there are injuries or not, you will most likely need to file what is known as the Uniform Crash Report, which is also less formally known as a “police report.” States typically require these reports when there is more than $1,000 worth of damage as a result of the car accident. You will also have to file a police report if the crash resulted in any physical injuries. Your state may also require that you file a separate state report, but many states have done away with this requirement. These states only require one police report that gets automatically sent to the state’s Department of Transportation.
Filing a Uniform Crash Report
A Uniform Crash Report is usually completed by a police officer when there is a car accident. Information will be taken down concerning the vehicles, the drivers and the location of the accident. A copy of the report is kept on file at the local courthouse for insurance purposes. The people involved in the accident are also entitled to a copy of the report. The insurance company will need a copy of this accident report before starting the claim process. A copy of the car accident report is usually available from the courthouse within a week.
Any witnesses to the accident should stay at the scene and give a statement to the police officer. Any statements will be included on the car accident report. Police officers usually take statements from the drivers of each vehicle. If a person driving a car is injured and unable to make a formal statement, it will be documented on the police report in the absence of a formal statement.
- The car accident report will list all the people involved in the car accident, including the passengers.
- The police officer will note where each individual was seated when the accident occurred. It will also be noted if they were wearing a seatbelt. Along with the date and time of the accident, car accident reports also give the address of the accident, as well as the direction each vehicle was traveling at the time of the accident.
- The police officer will also note other factors such as road conditions, weather conditions like rain or snow, as well as if any alcohol or other intoxicating substances were detected in any of the motorists.
- Police officers have to take down the insurance and licensing information for the affected drivers in the crash. This includes the name of insurance company, their contact information (telephone number and address), the agent’s name, the policy number of the insurance and the expiration date of the car insurance policy. This information is used to file a claim for car repairs following the crash and medical expenses.
- The vehicle identification number (VIN) is also documented along with a brief description of the automobile and the damages resulting from the accident.
Getting in a car accident can be a stressful situation. By filing a police report, you make sure that there’s an official record that will be useful for insurance companies as well as for any possible litigation that results from the crash.