What Makes up an Accident Report and Why is it Important to My Accident Injury Case?
Everyone is at least vaguely familiar with what a police report is, but most people are not aware of what information is contained in police report and they do not understand the purpose of the document. While some aspects of the report will be fairly obvious, such as your name and address, other portions will probably only have meaning for law enforcement officials, the courts, and your attorney. The purpose of this article is to better inform you about the contents of a police report and give you a more thorough knowledge about how we may use this information to help you.
How Soon Should My Police Report Be Available?
Most traffic accident reports prepared by the Police Department are ready within 2 to 5 days after the accident. Generally, you should be able to obtain a copy of the police report in a fairly short period of time; however, on occasion, the availability will be delayed by a few days in order to fully and accurately fill out every section. While portions of the report were probably completed at the time of the accident, the officer may wait to fully finish with his personal descriptions.
Who, What, When, and Where?
The main goal of a police report is to officially document what factually occurred during the accident. This information is largely based on four basic facts: who, what, when, and where. Who was involved? Were there only two people in the accident? Were there multiple passengers? Were there multiple cars? What happened? Maybe your car rolled over in the collision. Maybe you were hit from behind. When did the accident happen? Was it early in the morning or was it late in the day during dusk? Where did the accident take place? Were you injured in a parking lot? Or did the wreck occur in a school zone?
By providing this information, the officers, the courts, and your attorney should have a thorough understanding about what occurred and it may even assist in determining liability. The accident report is completed by the investigating police officer who documents and records these details of the accident. One important thing to note is that even though all of the aforementioned parties may come to rely on the information contained in a police report, deliberate actions must still be taken so that the police report can be used in court.
Included in the Police Accident Report:
This particular information is beneficial because it typically details the place, date, and time of the accident, as well as, road conditions present at the time of the wreck. By documenting the date and time of your accident we can establish whether or not it was raining or if you were passing through an area with a restricted speed limit like a construction zone which can be helpful in proving the defendant's fault. For example, if your car was struck in an active school zone, we may be able to prove that the defendant was speeding and, therefore, was grossly negligent.
Identification of the Drivers and the Vehicles
Information that is taken about the vehicle include the VIN, license plate number, the make, model and year. Information that is taken about the driver(s) include their driver's license number, status of the driver's license, and current address.
Insurance Information for Vehicles and Drivers
This identifies whether the drivers have insurance coverage and reference information to learn more about their policy. This portion will typically provide the insurance company's name, the policy number for each driver, and the amount of insurance that each driver has. If the car is not insured this fact will also be noted. In this situation they will also attempt to determine if the driver has any form of car insurance.
Determine the Damage to the Vehicle
The police report will also give a thorough description about the damage sustained by each vehicle involved in the automobile accident. The report will describe the location of the damage, the severity of the damage, and any markings that look unique or unusual.
The police report will also state crucial information like whether any drivers, or persons involved in the incident were cited or charged for any issues arising out of the accident. For example, if anyone was arrested or given a citation for speeding, running a red light, DWI, DUI, or any other offenses the police report will have this information listed.
Passenger Status and Passenger Location
The accident report will list how many people were involved in the accident. The contents will state the number of passengers each vehicle had, as well as their name, age, and contact information. It will also detail where they were seated at the time of the accident, whether they were properly wearing their seat belt (or if they were a child, whether they were adequately strapped into a child safety seat), and injuries which they suffered as a result of the accident.
This section is where the investigating officer will write a brief description of the accident. Their narrative will site any factors which may have led to the accident such as weather conditions, lighting, and road signs. The officer will also provide a drawing to depict the accident. This drawing will contain street names, a sketch of the roadway in which the accident occurred, the vehicles involved, and the direction in which they were traveling.
The incident report will also include the names and contact information of all known witnesses at the scene of the accident. The report will provide their legal names, their address, and any other contact information which they provide.
Grossman Law Offices Will Make Sure They Get It Right
With such a great deal of information provided in this one document, the police report is a crucial piece of evidence in proving your claim. We can use this document to effectively prove that you sustained damages in the car accident and we may even be able to show liability base don the information recorded by the police officer. If you have been injured in a car accident it is important that you file this report so that our team can have it available when we litigate your claim. To learn more about how we might specifically use your car accident report, contact Grossman Law Offices at (855) 326-0000.
Related Articles For Further Reading:
- Special Considerations for Pedestrians Who Are Hit by Cars
- Leaving No Stone Unturned in a Fatal Car Accident Case
- Texas Car Accident Statistics