How to Get a Car Accident Police Report
If you are involved in a car accident, several things must be done afterward to prepare to file a car insurance claim. One of the most important things, and one that is simple to overlook, is obtaining a copy of the accident report the police created when they arrived at the scene.
Having the accident report from the police is often a vital part of receiving the insurance coverage needed.
These are the steps you may need to take to get the accident report:
- Contact the responding officer.
- Provide your details to the officer.
- You may need to call the courthouse.
- Contact your insurance company.
- Visit the local DMV office.
1. Contact the Responding Officer
The officer who responded to the scene of the accident should have left you a business card with his or her contact information on it. Contact the number on the card to find out if they can provide the police report for you. If you didn’t receive a business card, you can contact the police station and request to speak to the officer who responded to the accident.
2. Provide Your Details to the Officer
When you talk to the officer who responded to your accident, you should explain to them who you are and provide some details about the accident to help them remember. If you have to leave a message for the officer, explain why you are calling and leave your name and a phone number where you can be reached.
3. Call the Courthouse
If the police officer who responded to the scene cannot help with your request, you can ask to speak to a receptionist at the police department, or you can contact the courthouse in your area and request to speak to a clerk.
After you determine what department has a copy of your accident report, you can go to the courthouse or police station to get a copy. Sometimes there will be a fee to get it, so make sure to prepare for this or ask about it before you go.
4. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you can’t get a copy of the accident report created by the responding officer from the police department or courthouse, call your insurance company. You can also call the insurance company for the other driver to see if they have it. If they do, you can request a copy be mailed to you.
5. Visit the Local DMV Office
It may be possible to get a copy of your police report by going to your local DMV office, too. There are some DMV offices that provide drivers with a copy of the police accident report once it is submitted by the responding officer. You can contact your DMV office to see if this is an option for you.
In some situations, you will have to be persistent and patient when searching for a copy of your car accident report. Remember, having the accident report is an important part of your insurance claim. Because of this, you need to review the information it contains before you can act or recover insurance money for the situation.
What to Do Once You Have a Copy of the Police Accident Report
After you get a copy of the police report, you should review the information to see what the official version of events is. There’s a good chance that the insurance company or even the other driver involved in the accident will have a copy of the report, especially for a higher value claim. Because of this, you should be prepared to use the information on the report to support what you claim happened. If the accident report from the police indicates that you were at fault and you believe this is wrong, you will have to refute the assessment made.
In some cases, you may require assistance when it comes to reviewing the report or if you believe that the responding officer’s version of what happened doesn’t reflect what you remember. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to get in touch with an experienced attorney.
Is a Police Report Really Necessary After a Car Accident?
Regardless of who was at fault for an accident, it’s a good idea to have a traffic accident report. This will serve as an official report of what happened. It can also be used by the insurance companies of the drivers and in court to help show who was at fault and determine settlement amounts.
If you don’t contact the police right after an accident occurs, you can still report it later. This will ensure there’s a record of what happened that can be used for insurance claims and a lawsuit if one is filed.
Is It Possible to File a Car Accident Claim if You Don’t Have a Police Report?
While it’s not always required, one of the top reasons you need a copy of the accident report from the police is for the insurance claim you make. If you try to file an insurance claim without the report, it may be denied. You may also get a lower settlement offer than you would if you had this report.
Even if there was only minor damage and no injuries, your insurance provider might want details about what happened. If you don’t have an official report, then it is just your word against the other driver’s. However, you can create problems for yourself and negatively impact a settlement amount if you speak to an insurance company representative about your accident. It is best to have an attorney handle all those communications. Your chances of getting a larger settlement are much higher when you work with an attorney experienced at negotiating with insurers.
Get Experienced and Skilled Help from Our Team
If you have been involved in an accident, be sure to use the steps above to get the accident report created by the police. If you need assistance, we can help you get the information required. Contact our car accident lawyers at Wapner Newman today by calling (215) 569-0900 for more information.