When you are involved in a car accident, you will likely be agitated, stressed, and confused. Many people compromise their claim for compensation because they make less than optimal choices when coping with the intense emotions experienced when one is in a collision. The unpredictability and shock might mask pain or lead to an underestimate of the damage to your vehicle. When you are injured because of a distracted, drunk, or careless driver, you should always contact the police and urge that a formal accident report be prepared. Vehicle damage can be much worse than it first appears, and serious injuries might not manifest symptoms for days, weeks, or even months. By the time, the victim recognizes that he/she needs to pursue a claim and/or pursue a personal injury lawsuit, they will be forced to proceed without the advantages that an official accident report provides. There are many reasons to contact the police and request a police report.
Although you can pursue an insurance claim or file a lawsuit even if a police report was never prepared following your accident, but you must proceed without a powerful evidentiary tool. When dealing with an uncooperative insurance adjuster, an objective third-party report prepared by a law enforcement officer trained to investigate car accidents can be highly persuasive evidence. Filing a police report also can help diffuse claims that any injuries you suffered were minor.
When a trained officer investigates and prepares a formal accident report, the document can provide a wealth of information, including the following:
- Other Driver’s Information: The police report will likely include insurance, vehicle registration, vin number, and driver’s license information for all drivers. The police report provides a much easier path to obtaining the information than trying to get the other driver to cooperate after the fact.
- Documenting the Collision: The report will document the time, place, parties, and location of the collision. If the other driver tells his insurance company that he or she was not involved in a crash, the police report can completely derail this claim.
- Evidence and Witnesses: The police report will include the names, contact information, and accounts of witnesses to the auto accident. The officer also might take pictures of vehicle damage and injuries. The report also will have a narrative that describes how the officer believes the accident based on physical evidence and witness accounts. The report may also include information about skid marks and other evidence relevant to the cause of the accident.
- Citations and Fault: The officer will include a section in the report where he indicates which party was at-fault based on his expertise as an accident investigator. The police report will also indicate whether either party was issued a citation.
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Were you or a loved one harmed in an accident caused by negligence? Parker Waichman LLP helps families recover monetary compensation for harm caused by dangerous drivers. For your free consultation, contact our law firm today by using our live chat or calling 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529).
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