Many people, after a car accident, think they don’t need to file a police report. Maybe the accident was just a “minor” one, or maybe the negligent party took responsibility for the incident. However, if it ends up that you need to seek compensation for unanticipated medical bills, that police report will likely be the most valuable piece of evidence you’ll have in your possession.
The purpose of a police report is to provide documentation of a car accident. It’s an unbiased and third party report about what happened – including details like contact information of drivers and witnesses, pertinent information about the accident, initial injuries, and citations issued. And, you’ll need a police report to access your own insurance benefits.
Reading your police report after a crash
When you receive a copy of your report, the first thing you should do is check it for accuracy. Details matter, especially when you’re bringing a case against a negligent driver. You should find the following information on a police report:
- Vehicle number. This section is important – note which vehicle number you are on the report (V1, V2, etc.). It will appear in several places, so make sure you know which one refers to you.
- Driver information and location. Check your home address, date of birth, and driver’s license number for accuracy, as well as the location of the accident.
- In this section, officers list any traffic violations they believe may have caused the accident, like alcohol or drugs, or careless driving.
- Driver factors. Driver factors include driver condition and driver actions. These factors can be crucial pieces of evidence in your car accident case, and insurance companies tend to examine them closely when determining compensation.
- Driver condition – The police officer will check off anything he or she believes may have factored into your accident (on the part of either driver), including things like “appeared normal,” “apparently asleep,” or “illegal drug use.”
- Driver actions – Actions that might cause a car wreck include “failure to yield right of way,” “failure to obey traffic controls,” or “inattentive.”
- Driver alcohol/drugs. This section indicates whether or not either driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. Ensure you read this section carefully as well, as it can be another critical piece of evidence in your case.
Remember, the at-fault driver may give a completely different account of the facts to their insurance company, so the police report is your most important tool in getting the maximum amount of compensation to which you’re entitled. You can get your report from the city police department or the county sheriff’s department that handled your accident.
Hurt in a car accident? Crandall & Pera Law is here to help. To schedule a free consultation with a member of our team, please call 877-686-8879 or contact us today. Our car accident lawyers represent clients throughout Ohio and Kentucky.