You should always call 911 after a car accident, and request that the police or highway Patrol come to the scene to make a Police Report (also called a Traffic Collision Report). A police report is especially needed when it’s not clear who is at fault.
As car accident attorneys, we always encourage people who have been in accidents, even seemingly minor accidents, to call and ask for an officer and a report. Regardless of the situation, you should always insist on getting a police report. Here are 5 reasons why:
- The report includes information that can help determine how the car accident occurred.
- The report also contains information on exactly who was involved in the car accident.
- The report sets forth other factors which may become important after the car accident.
- The report is considered an unbiased account of the facts of the car accident.
- The report is an essential tool used by insurance companies in assessing payment for car damage or bodily injuries from the car accident.
Initial important information
Police Reports usually diagram the location of the vehicles in the collision and any obvious damage to the cars or other vehicles. It may also assess who the police officer believes was at fault for the car or other vehicle accident.
Information about people in accident
The report usually includes information on exactly who was involved in the car accident. This includes not only the name, address, and contact information for each driver but also their passengers. This information can be very important if you need to later sue or find witnesses to get your car damage or personal injury bills paid.
Information about other accident related factors
Police reports also include information on other factors which can bear on deciding who is at-fault for the car accident. Examples are weather and road conditions and any traffic violations.
Considered an unbiased report
Since police generally do not have any personal interest in the outcome of the accident, insurance companies generally believe the information which the investigating officer writes in the report. The statements of friends or relatives who were with you in your car are less likely to be believed than the investigating officer’s observations and opinions.
Important to insurance companies for settlement
The police report is an important tool used by insurance companies to decide if they are going to pay money for your losses or injuries from the car accident. If you have obtained a police report and it is favorable to your version of the facts, you are usually on your way to a good money settlement from the insurance company.
What if the police will not come to the accident scene?
There are varieties of reasons why the police may not respond to your 911 call. If you tell them that no one is seriously injured, the police may decline to come to the accident scene. The same applies if you tell the police that the damage is minor. Police may not come if they are involved in another emergency situation or if weather or road conditions make it difficult to reach the scene.
If you do feel any neck, back or other pain then you can give the 911 operator that information and they might send an officer in that case. Do not, however, request an ambulance unless you truly need one.
Whatever the reason, if the police don’t come to you, it is important that you go to them. As soon as you can after the car accident, go to the nearest police department and file an incident report yourself.
There is more information on what to do when the police will not come and write a report in my free E book “9 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your California Vehicle Accident Case” You can download the book for free and read more about police reports and other vehicle accident issues.
At the Law Offices of John P. Burns, we effectively handle your car accident claim so you can focus on recovering emotionally and physically without dealing with the details. It’s free to ask questions, so contact us directly at 949-496-7000, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be sure to get back to you within 24 hours.