Why File A Police Report After A Car Accident
How Important Is a Police Report?
Police officers in California work 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
However, do you know how and when to make a police report after a car accident?
The police, for the most part, do everything, depending on the type of report needed.
Filing a police report after a car accident is very important to ensure that all the details are documented to help your claim later.
Even if the car accident is small and only minor damage has occurred, it’s still wise to contact the police.
Does Filing a Police Report Mean You Need To Make a Claim?
Filing a police report with your local police after a car accident doesn’t mean you have to make a claim with your insurance, etc.
The police report simply serves as a record of the incident and can help you with a potential car accident settlement.
Sometimes after a car accident the parties involved would rather resolve the issue without involving their insurance companies.
Many times a person involved in a car crash will say “I’m ok and we don’t need the police, etc.”, but then they call a lawyer and say they are injured.
So it’s always wise to get a police report to protect yourself, even if you were a passenger in the car accident.
What If The Police Don’t Come to the Accident?
If you are involved in a car accident, sometimes even if you call the police an officer won’t show up.
Accidents can happen at anytime, even while taking a taxi cab or uber.
If the police don’t show up do your best to document everything by taking photos, talking to witnesses etc.
There are many reasons why the police might not show up, here are some below –
- In some states the police officers don’t have to go to the accident scene if the property damage is minor
- The police might not show up if there are no injuries (or only minor injuries)
- If there are other larger emergencies in the local area then the police might not be able to show up
What Do The Police Do At The Accident Scene
The information the police document might vary depending on the accident and the time they have.
If you believe the police report is wrong read more about what you can do to fight the police report.
But normally the police will do things in the list below –
- Make sure the area is safe and secure for traffic and pedestrians
- Write down basic info – cars and people involved, speeds, etc.
- Call emergency vehicles if needed
- Give tickets if required due to traffic violations
- Speak to witnesses or third parties
What information does a police report offer?
The police report must contain:
- An accurate account of the facts, whoever subscribes to it must adhere to the truth, without removing or adding anything.
- The police officer must tell the facts he knew, as he knew them, at what time, and fully identify who informed him and reflect what was informed to him.
- Must fully identify the victim or victims, as well as potential witnesses.
- It must verbally cross-examine witnesses, making a note of each of them individually and of what they inform.
- It should obtain the maximum information about the accident – speed, who’s at fault, etc.
What To Do After A Car Accident
Being injured in a car accident, or just involved in a car crash can be frightening.
Some car accidents only result in low impact injuries while other crashes result in head injuries and much worse.
We have written some great articles on what to do depending on the accident and overall cause.
Top 28 Causes of Car Accidents
Speed is top cause of car crashes
What to do after hit and run accident
Tire blowouts cause accidents
How Can I Get a Copy of My Police Report?
According to the California Public Records Act, passed in 1968, law enforcement agencies must provide public information, when requested, as long as this does not endanger the privacy of another individual.
According to the legislation, the agency can investigate and determine the existence of the requested report during a 10-day period.
This does not mean that the documents will be delivered within that timeframe.
Police reports generally available to the public are crime reports, accident reports, statistics, service order records, and arrest records.
You can read a larger article on how to get a copy of your traffic accident report.