Immediately after an accident, one of your first instincts is to call 911, and in most cases, you’d be right. Calling 911 and requesting police assistance is crucial, not only for that moment but also for your future collision claim. Officers can create a police report containing vital information that could help you recover compensation.
As the name suggests, a police report is a report created by the police officer(s) who responds to the scene of your car accident.
After a car accident, one of the first things you should do is call 911. Ask the operator for police assistance, and if you or someone else is injured, also ask for emergency medical services.
When the police arrive at the scene of your collision, they will immediately begin to investigate. You can expect police officers to speak with everyone involved and witnesses to gather critical details and take down relevant notes.
After officers have obtained all of the information they feel they need, they will assist with clearing the accident scene and conclude their investigation at the scene.
In the days after your car crash, police officers will take all of the information and details they obtained at the scene and create a police accident report. You or your personal injury attorney can request a copy of the report about a week to ten days after your collision.
Not every accident in Ohio needs to be reported. If you experience a minor accident with no injury and minimal damage, you are not required to call the police or formally report your accident.
Under Ohio law, certain accidents do always need to be reported, including those involving injuries or death or those causing property damage of $1,000 or more.
If your accident needs to be reported and you fail to call the police or report your accident to the police within five days, you could face repercussions. Additionally, it is illegal to immediately leave the scene of an accident — that would be a hit-and-run collision.
When you’re involved in an accident and suffer harm or damages, do not hesitate to call the police. Even if the other person flees the scene or refuses to cooperate, it’s important to have the police assist you.
While police reports might seem like minor pieces in the grand puzzle of car accident claims, they are not. A police report can play a vital role in your collision claim, and in some cases, it can even help you win and obtain the compensation you need.
Police accident reports are vital for several reasons, but the following are some of the most significant ways these reports can help strengthen and win your claim.
If you need any information regarding your accident, you can likely find it in your police report. The report can include the following:
- Details concerning your collision, such as time of day and location
- Contact information for all parties involved
- Vehicle information, including make, model, license plate, and VIN numbers
- Driver statements made at the scene of the accident
- Witness statements from eyewitnesses to the collision
- Details regarding injuries and property damage
- Information concerning traffic citations, if any, were issued
All of this information is not just good to have but could also help your personal injury lawyer build your case.
One of the most critical pieces of information in a police report is the insight provided by officers concerning fault for the collision.
After an accident, you can usually expect a lot of finger-pointing and blaming. In most cases, no one wants to take responsibility for an accident.
Police officers can use certain details — like the location of the crash, the position of the vehicle’s post-collision, and eyewitness statements, along with their own knowledge and experience — to come to a solid conclusion regarding the fault.
This information can substantially help build your injury claim. Car accident claims often rest upon the strength of your evidence. Your attorney can use your police report as one of their primary pieces of evidence in an effort to obtain the most favorable outcome for you.
When you file a car insurance claim, the insurance company considers the information you provide, but they must also conduct their own investigation. Based on their findings, they can use the information they obtain to approve or deny your claim or engage in settlement negotiations with you or your attorney.
While insurers won’t solely rely on police reports, they can use the information within the document to make their ultimate decision. If the report is favorable for you, it could mean a better outcome for you.
Typically, only certain individuals, like the parties involved and their representatives, can request and obtain police reports.
You can request a copy online or by visiting your local police station. However, when you have a personal injury lawyer representing you, they can easily attain a copy for your case.
When you have a personal injury lawyer handling your car accident claim, you can rely on them to do everything on your behalf so you don’t have to. One of the first things a lawyer does is gather important, available information and documentation — like police reports — to begin working on building your claim.
After a car accident, do not wait to consult with a personal injury attorney at Slater & Zurz. We have over three decades of experience helping clients like you pursue justice and compensation.
Contact Slater & Zurz today to request a complimentary consultation.