An accident can leave even the most seasoned driver frazzled but following these steps may help protect you from unnecessary worries. Even if you’ve never been in a car accident, you’ve probably heard of police reports, though you might not know much about them. A police report is created by a law enforcement officer who responds to the scene of a car accident, and it includes crash-related details, statements from those involved in the accident (and from witnesses), and other key information. Insurance adjusters and attorneys often give a lot of weight to what’s in the police report, especially if the officer’s findings indicate that one driver bears most (or all) of the fault for the car accident. So, a police report can be a crucial piece of the car insurance claim or car accident lawsuit puzzle. If you are the victim in a car accident, the insurance company of the liable party is going to work hard to avoid paying out too much money for the claim. If you have been injured, you will need an injury lawyer to help you navigate these complicated waters.
How To Obtain A Copy Of A Police Report
There are two ways to obtain a police report. One way will cost you money, the other probably will not. To obtain a paid copy of the police report, you need to request a copy from the local law enforcement office that drafted the report. Before leaving the scene of the crash, the investigating officer typically will hand you a receipt with the identification number for the police report. Call the traffic division of the local law enforcement agency that responded to the scene of the car accident, pay the administrative fee (which is usually around $15), and you should have no problem obtaining a copy. Anyone that is an authorized party to the accident can request a copy of the accident. That would be both drivers and anyone who was in the car with them.
How You Read Your Accident Report
Once you receive the accident report, it’s important to understand what it says. Start by verifying that all details on the report are correct, including your basic information and contact details. Even a minor mistake could impact your personal injury claim. If there are any inaccuracies, it’s crucial to contact the police department right away. There should be a diagram with areas of impact marked. Ensure you agree with the details here because insurance companies will look at the police diagrams when determining liability. Be sure to read the narrative section, as responding officers often list information there that you won’t find elsewhere in the collision report.
Having An Attorney On Your Side Can Be Critical
Your injury attorney can obtain a copy of the official accident report for you if, by chance, you are in the hospital because of the injuries or for other reasons unable to get the report. Your medical bills will begin to add up quickly if you were injured. The faster you obtain an accident report, the quicker you can begin your claim with an insurance company. Proving liability is not always easy. In the report, the official clearly outlines conditions at the time of the accident. They will note the road conditions, whether or not speeding was involved, or if alcohol or drugs were a factor. They will also note whether they were able to determine who was at fault for the accident. If the police report isn’t helpful to your position, or if there are early signs that the other side is digging in for a fight, having an attorney on your side can be critical.
The information contained in the police report can be a fact or an opinion. For example, the date, time, and location of the collision are facts. Fault determinations are the opinions of the police officer.
Michael A. O’Hara Negotiates and Litigates Auto Accidents and Other Personal Injury Cases
Injuries happen unexpectedly, and they can lead to major setbacks for victims and their families. Injury victims and their loved ones not only have to deal with the injury itself but also with a significant financial burden that these situations cause. I have an experienced team with the resources necessary to fully investigate your claim and recover the compensation you deserve.
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About Michael A. O’Hara, PLLC
When you have to deal with the justice system – whether related to a civil or criminal matter – you need more than the truth on your side. You need a skilled attorney who can employ sound legal strategies to produce the results you are hoping for. I am attorney Michael A. O’Hara, and I am licensed to practice in Kentucky and Ohio at the state level, as well as in Federal District Court and the Federal Court of Claims. I have been representing clients in the Northern Kentucky/Greater Cincinnati area since 1994.