Many people have the notion that they shouldn’t talk to the police, regardless of the circumstances. But, contrary to popular belief, talking to the police and getting an officer at the scene to file a report is one of the best things you can do after a car accident.
But what is a police report, and why exactly do you need to talk to the police after a crash? Allow us to explain.
What Is a Police Report?
A police report is like an all-in-one document. It is an unbiased, publicly available account of the crash. It describes where the crash happened and who was involved. It verifies the information of both drivers, making a hit and run or a false exchange of information less likely.
It may also include statements from the drivers and witnesses, as well as documentation of the damages (both to person and property). Some reports will might even include a diagram of the crash. If any citations were issued due to driver error, a note of those will likely be included as well.
All of this is important because it demonstrates that your injuries and the damages to your vehicle were a direct result of a car crash. This is especially helpful if you experience latent injuries, those that aren’t apparent until a few days later.
While the police report cannot prove who caused the crash, witness accounts and property damage documentation can go a long way in helping your attorney pursue justice.
Why Should I Have a Police Report?
Typically, the police report is the first thing your car accident attorney will ask for. Not only does the report provide important clues about who is at fault for the crash, but the witness statements in that report can be used to hold the other driver to their story.
Similarly, suppose a bystander who saw the crash makes a statement. Their testimony can be used to strengthen your case, and the police report will contain their contact information so your legal team can reach out to them for more information.
A police report isn’t just an important part of your car accident case. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, it may be required.
When Am I Required to Have a Police Report?
While it’s a good idea to get a police report for minor or moderate crashes, you are required to have one for catastrophic and fatal crashes. In Michigan, you must pursue a police report if the crash results in any of the following:
More than $1,000 in property damage
Someone is injured
Someone is killed
Failing to report a serious crash not only makes your car accident case more complicated, but it may leave you open to charges. If someone is injured in a crash or if you see blood, you should call 911 immediately and get an ambulance and a police officer on the scene as soon as possible.
Remember that not having a police report can damage your case. If you don’t have a police report, the insurance company (and potentially a jury) may question why, which could make it harder to earn the full amount you’re entitled to.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Police Report?
Once the police report is written, you should get a copy for the insurance claims process. To get a copy, you’ll need to submit a written request and purchase the report. However, if you’ve hired a personal injury attorney to manage your case, they should be able to obtain the report while you focus on rest and recovery.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, we can help. To discuss your case with an experienced Auburn Hills personal injury attorney from Bashore Green Law Group please call us at (248) 487-1887 or send us an email.