How Can a Car Accident Police Report Help?
After a car accident, a police report can be critical to proving fault and obtaining compensation. Even if you have no-fault insurance, a report can help prove damages and provide grounds for additional legal action against at-fault drivers if the collision was severe.
How Do Insurance Companies Use Police Reports?
Whether it is your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s, an adjuster will review the police report to confirm you were actually involved in a car accident, to determine how long you waited to file a claim, and to decide fault. The at-fault driver’s insurer will use the report as part of their investigation to figure out which party’s negligence contributed to the accident and assign a percentage of fault. The police report can significantly influence an adjuster’s decision.
In addition to providing the facts and documentation of the crash, the police report gives an unbiased third-party view on how It occurred and who caused it. This can have a much larger impact on how the adjuster decides fault, rather than the subjective statements from each driver involved. If the report is similar to your account of the collision, it can drastically increase your chances of a successful outcome. On the other hand, if you are partially or predominantly to blame, the police report can protect you from having to pay for damage or injuries that were not a result of the accident.
What’s Included in a Car Accident Police Report?
The officer who arrives at the scene will typically include the following in their report:
- Basic Details: The date, time, and location of the car accident.
- Contact Information: The name, address, phone numbers, insurance company, and policy number for all parties involved. Phone numbers for any witnesses to the accident will also be included. If who caused the accident is disputed, a witness may be able to corroborate your version of how the collision occurred.
- Driver Statements: All drivers and passengers will be interviewed by the officer. These statements can be critical to your claim’s success since they may contain the truth of how the accident occurred or even admissions of fault.
- Injuries: The officer will mention any injuries they saw, which can help you prove your injuries were caused by the collision.
- Narrative of Events: The police report will also contain what the officer believes happened and who caused the accident.
- Diagram: A rough diagram of the accident scene may be included to show the point of impact and where the vehicles came to rest.
- Vehicle Damage: A description of the damage done to each vehicle and whether any property in the surrounding area was damaged.
- Weather and Road Conditions: If there was any inclement weather, such as rain or snow, or the roads were slick with ice at the time of the collision, and the officer believes the weather or road conditions may have played a role, then the report will include that information.
- Traffic Violations: The report will state whether traffic citations or arrests were made.
- Pictures: The officer might include photos of the scene, the damage, and injuries, depending on the severity of the accident.
A police report will not be admissible if your case makes it to trial, but most cases are settled beforehand and will play a vital role when you are negotiating compensation.