A police report can be one of the most essential components of your personal injury case following an auto accident. It is very important that you call the police in any auto accident because you may need this documentation later, when you're trying to recover damages from the person responsible for your injuries.
Read on to learn exactly how to get a police report after an auto accident, and how to use it to get the money you deserve:
How to Obtain the Police Report
You should obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible following the accident. The police precinct (or other law enforcement location) that created the report will typically make it available to you once it has been reviewed by the superior officers at that location. This may take a few days, so you should call and ask when you can pick a copy of the report up. You may be able to request that the report is mailed to you or your attorney directly, as well.
What a Police Report Reveals
The police report from an auto accident will typically be full of valuable information, including:
- The date and time of the accident
- The specific location of the accident
- The weather conditions at the time of the accident
- A list of any legal citations or violations that were issued to either driver involved in the accident
- The insurance information for both drivers involved in the accident
- A notation of any admission of fault made by either driver at the scene of the accident, if any
- Observations made by police officers regarding the cause or the responsibility for the accident, if any
- A list of accident witnesses, if any
How Your Lawyer Can Use The Police Report
Although a police report is typically not allowed as evidence in a civil court proceeding, a personal injury lawyer can use the police report as a valuable negotiation tool. This is significant because 95 to 96 percent of all personal injury lawsuits are resolved in a settlement that is negotiated before the civil court date occurs.
Your lawyer can cite any of the information in the police report during negotiations to prove that the other party is responsible for your injuries. This may include:
- Proving that the other driver was impaired, if they were issued a citation for impairment of any type
- Proving that the other driver admitted guilt at the scene of the accident, if this was documented in the report
- Contacting the witnesses listed on the police report and obtaining statements regarding the fault of the other driver from them
If you have a personal injury case due to an auto accident, don't underestimate the importance of the police report. As you can see, your lawyer can use their expert negotiation skills to turn that report into compensation for you. To learn more, contact a professional like Richard M Altman.