One of the most common suggestions we offer on this blog is to call the police and obtain a police report in the wake of an accident. This tip recurs in virtually every post we make on car, bus, bicycle, motorcycle or truck accidents. In a strange contradiction, we include it so often that we fear it’s become an afterthought. We always stress the importance of police reports, but we rarely explain why they’re important. Today Malloy Law will be taking a deep dive on police reports, their utility towards your case, and how you may go about obtaining one.
Police reports are documents with a wide variety of uses, only a handful of which have anything to do with law enforcement. While our perception of the police is indelibly linked with the pursuit, apprehension, and prosecution of dangerous criminals, it’s important to remember that the police serve far more functions than just the ones that make for good TV dramas. The police serve a vital clerical purpose. Police reports can be considered an objective record of events. This makes them a vital tool in protecting the interests and rights of accident victims.
In the absence of neutral observers, accidents can quickly devolve into a game of “their word against yours.” If all the interested parties have to go on are the inevitably-biased accounts of persons involved in the incident, it will be difficult to come to any definite conclusions about fault and liability. Police reports provide a basic set of facts to ground the accident. This will be invaluable to your insurance company if any legal proceedings arise as a result of the accident. It will also be invaluable to you in any necessary dealing with your own insurance. Without a report, for instance, it may be difficult to obtain coverage for any medical expenses you incur as a result of the accident.
If you are involved in an accident, one of your first moves should be to call 911, explain your situation, and request police and other necessary emergency services to your location. The police will be invaluable in navigating the aftermath of any crash. Police or other law-enforcement officers will generally:
A copy of the police report can be provided to you though communications with the responding officers, so be sure to obtain contact information from any police on the scene. Though it may also be provided to your insurance provider.
In some cases, it may be unfeasible or simply unnecessary for police to come to the scene of an accident. However, this does not mean the police should not be contacted. If they decide not to come to the scene of your accident for one reason or another, that means data collection will be your responsibility
If the emergency dispatcher indicates that police are unavailable or otherwise not responding, ask them what you should do and what information you should collect. Be sure to obtain their name and contact information if possible. This will be useful if it’s necessary to present your case in court.
In general, you should:
Without police on the scene of the accident, filing a report and insurance claim will require more legwork on your part. You will be able to report an accident at the local police station. Depending on your location, there may be an online accident reporting form for your convenience.
The aftermath of an accident can be overwhelming, even for those who haven’t done anything wrong. You don’t have to face it alone. If you or a loved one have been injured due to another party’s negligence, don’t wait. Contact Malloy Law Offices for a free consultation. Our exemplary team of attorneys can evaluate your case free of charge and craft a winning strategy. We’ll aggressively pursue compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, damaged or destroyed property, as well as pain and suffering. Contact us today and let Malloy Law fight for you.