Car Accident Police Reports and Your Personal Injury Case
The Importance of Car Accident Police Reports
In January of 2016, drivers in Las Vegas may have breathed a collective sigh of relief. They would have had good reason for doing so. That was the month in which Deputy Chief Gary Schofield of the Las Vegas Metro Police announced a return to the department’s previous tradition of responding, if requested, to automobile crashes in which no one has suffered a physical injury. They also agreed to resume accepting reports concerning this type of accident at local police substations.
The prior hiatus had lasted for one year and 10 months. During this period, police reports were unavailable for Las Vegas drivers involved in accidents that caused no physical injury and in which no drug or alcohol impairment had played a part. Instead, the drivers themselves had the sole responsibility of obtaining and exchanging any information that they might later need for insurance purposes. The police department also abstained from providing reports concerning these less-serious accidents to drivers who sought to obtain them in person.
Unfortunately, this policy deprived drivers of the objective, third-party evidence they needed to strengthen their cases. As it turned out, this mattered for more than one reason. It almost goes without saying that:
– A police report stands as a clear and unbiased account of the way in which any accident happened to unfold. This makes it invaluable to insurance companies for whom the information it contains can assist in their attempts to determine fault.
– People who have suffered injury in a car accident may not immediately realize that fact. While such lack of awareness may stem from agitation in the heat of the moment, it is also true that certain soft tissue and muscle injuries routinely fail to reveal themselves until hours and possibly days have passed since they first occurred. The delayed recognition will turn the supposed minor crash into a different animal, but at that point, the lack of a police report can make the appropriate compensation difficult if not impossible to come by.
– Damage to your vehicle may also give the initial appearance of being less serious than it really is. In fact, you may honestly believe that your car has emerged from the crash unscathed until later when your bumper falls off or the axle breaks when you are halfway home.
The truth is that car accident headaches that seemed minor at the start can balloon unexpectedly after the fact. That’s when you’ll need the police report.
What the Police Report Contains
The police report provides you with an unprejudiced, third-party account of how your accident took place. The unbiased evidence of which it consists will be essential to anyone who intends to file an insurance claim or institute a lawsuit.
This report will include:
– The date and time of the accident.
– The place at which it occurred.
– An account of any injuries suffered by drivers, passengers or bystanders.
– A description of vehicular damage.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the police report will also include statements made by witnesses to the accident as well as by those who had the misfortune of being directly involved.
When this evidence supports your side of the story, it can clearly increase the chance of a successful outcome to your personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. The police report can also assist you in cases where you might initially but incorrectly appear to bear the bulk of the blame. For example, in a common type of insurance fraud, another driver will deliberately set you up for a crash in the hopes of claiming fake injuries after the fact. When this sort of thing occurs, recorded witness statements can prove invaluable.
How to File a Police Report
After a car crash, it’s important to call police to the scene as quickly as possible. As the responding officer attempts to determine the cause, he will question witnesses, passengers and other drivers in addition to you, yourself. He will then write up and file the police report. After he has done this, make sure that you get a copy.
In addition, if you intend to file suit for damages following the accident, you will want to engage a personal injury attorney. Expenses following a car accident can run the gamut from pain and suffering to medical costs, lost wages and property damage. You deserve and should seek compensation for these things. The skilled lawyers at Lloyd Baker Injury Attorneys will assist you in filing a personal injury claim and do all that is necessary to help you win the damages that you deserve. Don’t hesitate, and don’t suffer in silence. Contact Lloyd Baker today for a free consultation.