Police car accident reports are integral to any investigation of an accident claim. Without this report, it is hard to determine which driver was at fault for the collision. These reports contain a wealth of information useful in your claim against the other driver’s insurance company. Some will indicate that one driver is at fault, as per the officer’s opinion. Most reports do not place liability on a driver. That is the insurance company’s determination. However, a report that designates fault plays a valuable role in the settlement process.
A car accident lawyer at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. protects your rights and can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Since 1975, our dedicated lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for accident victims.
Car Accident Reports
The police car accident report is detailed. The information should include:
- Accident date, time, and location
- Accident scene description
- Contact and insurance information of each driver
- Driver’s license numbers
- Driver statements
- Narrative of events leading to the crash
- Passenger names and contact information
- Vehicle descriptions, including make, model, and year
- Vehicle damage description
- Visible injury description
- Weather conditions
- Witness names and contact information
The report will also state whether the law enforcement officer issued tickets to either driver. Contributing factors are also noted, such as whether speeding, driving under the influence, or non-working lights or signals were involved in the crash.
When Serious Injuries Occur
Anyone injured in a car accident is advised to take photos of the scene and their injuries. For seriously injured victims, that is not possible. They are en route to the emergency room or in no condition to move around the accident scene taking pictures.
The police officer responding to the accident will investigate the accident and file their report. They will usually take photos of the scene itself and vehicle damage. While a car accident report is always crucial, it is especially so when those involved in the crash could not collect evidence.
Obtaining the Police Report
These reports are generally available within a few days of the collision. Get a copy of it by contacting the police department of the municipality in which the accident occurred. If the state police responded to the call, visit their website to obtain a copy. In some locales, it is possible to get it online to download and print.
How an Attorney Uses the Police Report
Once your lawyer has a copy of it, they can use it to contact witnesses and begin their investigation. In conjunction with medical reports, police reports help your attorney when negotiating a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier. The insurance adjuster also receives a copy of it. Since a police officer is an unbiased witness, their professional opinion holds weight with insurance adjusters. Keep in mind that police reports are not admissible in court should your case go to trial. However, the officer may be called upon to testify in the case.
No matter how minor an accident may seem, it is critical to call the police. The other driver may try to convince you otherwise, but that could prove a costly mistake. What initially looks like a minor collision could end up causing an injury that appears after a few days. That is true of many whiplash injuries, which may take 24 to 48 hours to become painful. A “minor” injury can turn out to have long-term consequences.
Your vehicle may also have sustained more damage than initially suspected. Without the report, the insurance adjuster will not offer a settlement for property damage.
Suppose the police were not called to the accident scene. In that case, you must fill out an accident report form with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the incident if the accident resulted in any injury or property damage exceeding $1,000. Finally, if you want to file a claim, the insurance company will require it.
Contact a New York and New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer for a free consultation
If you or a loved one were seriously injured in a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. We serve Rockland County (NY) and Bergen County (NJ). Call or text 24/7 or complete our online form to arrange a free consultation.
After reviewing your claim, we will advise you of your options. You pay no fee unless you receive compensation.