Waiting for the police report before talking to a lawyer is a bad idea. Here's why that is:
When you are in a car accident, it is important to know what to do immediately after, especially if you plan on taking legal action for any personal injury or property damage that you have suffered. And truthfully, many people are unsure of how to navigate the entire process. A useful tool for your case is a police report, because police officers are required to make a record of the scene of the crime. But, that doesn't mean you should wait on the report before you take action. We'll discuss the benefits of a police report and when a lawyer is necessary in this article.
Generally, police reports can be helpful.
It is very important that you make sure that there is a police report made at the scene of the accident. The reason for this is to ensure that nothing is falsified later on. Oftentimes, people are very confused and stressed following a car accident, and this can typically mean they will be honest in that time of extreme disarray. If there is police report documentation of this, then you will be able to use that to help support that you were not the party at fault for this particular crash. This is important because many times, people change their story following the accident to benefit themselves. A police report is key in preventing this from holding any weight in the determination of fault.
Another way in which a police report is very helpful is in making sure that if you are going to make a claim for your car accident injuries, that they were documented at the scene of the crime. (Sometimes, the police aren't able to come out to the accident to document, meaning you'd have to document your accident and injuries on a Texas Driver's Report Form CR-2, known as a "blue form", and that may serve as documentation too.) Either way, the documentation will help with the chain of causation. You do not want the other side to make claims that you had preexisting injuries or that this particular injury came from some collateral source, which could create a bar on your recovery.
Do I need a police report before I seek legal advice?
The simple answer to this question is no. You do not need to have a police report in order to speak with an attorney. In fact, it may be to your detriment to wait to seek legal counsel, and do what is called "sitting on your rights," because you are holding out for a police report. As stated earlier, it is obvious that police reports are important in determining exactly what happened at the scene of the accident.
However, you cannot gauge exactly when it will be processed and become accessible to you. In actuality, you often must request this report and pay a fee for receiving it. As well, there is no definite time that they will mail it to you. With every passing day, the clock is ticking down on the statute of limitations (your timeline for taking legal action). Put simply, waiting on the police report will introduce a number of variables into the filing suit process that may hurt your case and your recovery of damages.
So, how can waiting hurt my claim?
Let's use an example to show why it's a good idea to get an attorney involved from the get-go and not wait on that delayed police report before taking action.
- If you were involved in an 18-wheeler accident or some form of automobile accident, then you'll most likely be filing an insurance claim against both your insurance company and the injuring party's coverage. Where this can become problematic is when you wait to seek legal advice because of a lack of a police report. During this time, insurance adjusters will be assigned to your case and begin researching your claim, essentially building a case that pokes holes in yours.
Insurance adjusters are looking out for the interests of the insurance company, and they may rig the process to make it look as though you were the party at fault, thereby limiting your ability to recovery. An experienced attorney will ensure that they do not manipulate you and get you to admit facts or circumstances that were not true or will inevitably destroy your right to recovery. Therefore, waiting on the police report before you retain a lawyer would be a terrible mistake.
The attorneys at Grossman Law Offices are experienced in handling car crash cases and the procedures that must be followed to ensure that evidence is preserved and your claim receives the utmost care and attention. If you would like to discuss the particulars of your injury, contact us at (855) 326-0000 .
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