Jill Kolodner | May 19, 2022 | Car Accidents
Following a car accident, victims often believe that there is no reason to file a police report. This is especially true if the collision was relatively minor.
However, it is essential to file a police accident report regardless of the severity of the crash. Filing a report will give you a much better chance of recovering financial compensation in any resulting legal claim.
A police accident report will be an important piece of evidence in your car accident case. A skilled car accident lawyer will use the information contained in the report to bolster your claim for damages.
Even if you think you are uninjured and the damage to your vehicle is minor, it is critical to report the car accident.
Why Are Police Accident Reports Important?
When police officers are dispatched to the scene of a collision, they will draft an impartial third-hand account of the situation based on their investigation. This report can be used to undermine any illegitimate claims that the at-fault party might make during a legal case.
It is critical to secure the testimonies of eyewitnesses. But a police report will be viewed as a neutral description of the relevant facts of the case.
Additionally, insurance providers typically require police reports before they will pay a related claim. A skilled legal professional will build a powerful case using the police report detailing your accident and injuries.
What Information is Contained in Police Accident Reports?
Police accident reports are intended to be unbiased descriptions of a collision. The reporting officer will not have any personal stake in determining who is at fault for the crash.
Because of this, you can trust that the information and details included in the report are neutral and objective.
Some of the information contained in these reports includes:
- Location of the collision
- The date and time of the accident
- The parties involved, including contact and insurance information
- A detailed description of resulting vehicular and property damage
- Statements and contact information from eyewitnesses
- Descriptions of injuries sustained by those involved
- Drivers’ statements recounting the accident
- Weather conditions and an account of roadway obstacles
- Other relevant factors
Accident victims who secure a police report have a much higher likelihood of successfully recovering compensation in a claim or lawsuit. Unfortunately, some negligent drivers attempt to make false claims to decrease their liability.
If this happens without a police report, the resulting legal claim will be much harder to win. Although most claims result in a settlement without the need for litigation, a police accident report will be invaluable if your claim proceeds to trial.
Steps to File a Police Accident Report in Baltimore
Once you understand that an accident report is crucial following a car accident, it is important to know how to file one. There are several steps to take following your accident to secure a police report.
First, you should contact local law enforcement as soon as the accident happens. Unless there is a medical emergency, you should call the police first. Even if the accident is minor, it’s best to err on the side of caution and call the police.
When the officers arrive at the scene, provide them with a factual description of the collision. Truthfully answer any questions that the attending officer asks about the situation.
However, you should never discuss liability with anyone at the scene of the accident. Simply describe the events of the crash.
The officer should file the accident report within a few weeks of the incident. Make sure to seek a copy of this report for yourself. Your insurance company will probably require a copy of the report if you file a claim.
When you have been involved in a car accident, make sure to file a police report and reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer to pursue the compensation you are owed.