After a Car Accident: How to Obtain a Police Report
Getting into a motor vehicle accident can be a very traumatic experience. Not only do you have to recover from the shock and begin the recovery process, but you have to deal with the insurance company. And one of the first things it will ask for is a police report.
If you have never been in a serious car accident or truck accident before, you may not know how to go about getting the incident report. After all, you’re busy fielding calls from the insurance companies, making doctor’s appointments, and maybe arranging to take time off of work. Who has time to fetch a police report?
What you may not realize is the police report will have vital information that you need in order to receive fair compensation for your injuries. It answers two of the most important questions you will face after a car crash — what happened and who is at fault?
What is a Police Report?
A police report is usually created by the investigating officer at the scene of the accident. It contains the following information:
- The date and time the accident occurred
- The location of the accident, including the town and county
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the car crash
- Contact information and details about each of the drivers involved in the wreck
- Any information about passengers in the vehicle
- Details about the accident and the vehicles, including a diagram of the placement of the vehicles at the time of the accident
- A brief summary of what happened, taken from statements from the vehicle occupants and witnesses at the scene
The police report will also mention who was injured in the accident and whether anyone received a citation.
It does cost a fee to get the report, usually between $15 and $25.
How Do I Get a Police Report?
The application to obtain a copy of the police report can usually be done in person, via mail, or online via the police department website, depending on the department. For instance, the Pennsylvania State Police asks you to submit an application via mail after 15 days have elapsed since the date of the crash.
Usually, the police will provide you with a crash receipt following the accident. This isn’t a full report but will provide you with important information such date and location of the accident and the other party’s information.
If you have any trouble obtaining your crash report, an attorney can help you get the information.
Why Do I Need a Police Report?
The crash report for your accident will contain crucial information about your case. The police take the time to investigate the accident, inspect the vehicles, talk to witnesses, and take photographs of the scene.
Also included in the police report will be opinions by the police as to what was the cause of the crash and who may be at fault.
This document will be used by the insurance company to get a better understanding of what happened and the damage your vehicle received in the accident. Using this information, the insurance company will then determine who is at fault for the accident and will estimate the amount of compensation your claim is worth. Despite what the officer believes, remember that your insurance company will draw its own conclusions about what had occurred.
That’s why it’s important to get the police report as soon as possible. You need to check to make sure the statements and facts are correct. If they are not correct, you will need to contact the investigating officer to explain why the facts are wrong and need to be corrected.
Is a Police Report Necessary Even if No One was Hurt?
Let’s say you did have an accident but there were no injuries involved. So does that mean getting the police report is really necessary?
The answer to this question is still yes. The police report will provide you with all the information you need to strengthen your accident claim. If your insurance company is fighting your claim and considers you at fault for the accident, this is where a report from an impartial witness will come in handy.
Munley Law Can Help You Obtain Your Police Report
Without the report, you will have trouble proving your side of the story. And the days following a car accident can prove overwhelming. This is one step in the process that you do not want to forget.
An experienced and compassionate car accident lawyer can help you navigate this process and answer any questions you may have along the way. Contact Munley Law for help with your car accident claim today. Choose carefully.
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