One of the most important things you should do after a car accident is to call the police at the car accident scene. Even if no one responds to the car accident, you would still be required to report the accident to law enforcement. Whether your accident was a minor fender bender or a much bigger crash, a police report will be helpful, especially when liability becomes an issue.
If you have been involved in a car accident, you may wonder how to get a copy of the police report to be used for settlement or lawsuit. A Bakersfield car accident attorney can assist you in obtaining a police report and help you spot any mistakes that could jeopardize your recovery value.
What Is Contained In The Police Report
The police officer who responds at the accident scene takes notes and pictures, talks to witnesses, and obtains any other relevant information to prepare the report. Typically, the report will contain:
- The date, location, and time of the accident.
- Witnesses involved, their names, addresses.
- Weather information, road conditions, etc.
- The extent of vehicle damage.
- Causes and opinions of the car accident.
In some cases, the police opinion may seem to differ from what you think was the cause of the accident. When such is used as evidence, it could jeopardize your car accident settlement. Fortunately, a police report can be amended. But this is possible as long as you have the evidence to show that what is contained in the police report is erroneous.
Getting A Copy Of the Police Report
The police who respond to your car accident prepare a report regarding the accident. Such a report gives their opinions, especially about who was at fault, which may or may not be correct. That’s why it’s always advisable for a victim to get a copy of the police report and see what may have been omitted or see any mistakes that could interfere with liability.
Typically, a police report can be obtained in two ways:
- You can trace the police who wrote the report through the identification number given on the receipt at the accident scene. You can use the number to call the police department and meet with the police to obtain the copy. Or else, you can get to the government website and get the information on how to obtain the police report.
- Get a copy from the claim adjuster. In almost all accident cases, the at-fault driver insurance company will have to get a copy of the police report, which may shed light on how their insured was negligent in causing an accident.
Note that if the material in the police report is deemed confidential, you may get some portion blacked out. Also, the report may not be available if there are still ongoing investigations about the accident.
Police reports play a key role during car accident settlements. Also, it could be used in small claims court as evidence. If you are not sure about the information indicated on the police report after an accident, you can learn more from an experienced car accident lawyer.