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Obtaining a crash report after a car accident is important for preserving a claim in the future. After getting treated for any injuries, you should ensure a crash report is filed to record the details of the car accident.
Filing a crash report will not only help you remember the details later should you choose to file a lawsuit, but it can be used later as evidence to establish fault and help you seek damages for your injuries.
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How to File a Crash Report After a Car Accident
After being involved in a car accident, the first thing you should do is address any injuries. Seek medical treatment, even if you do not feel injured. The next thing you should do is to file a crash report with your local law enforcement agency.
Select your city below to see a more detailed description of how to file a crash report after a car accident.
How to File a Crash Report Based on Where You Are
Why Should I File a Crash Report?
The best way to seek compensation for damages that resulted from a car accident is by filing a personal injury claim. Filing a claim with the other party’s insurance claim may not always compensate you for all of your injuries.
A claims adjuster from the other person’s insurance company will first investigate the accident. Since they are on the side of the other driver, they will be looking to reduce damages and pay out as little as possible. This is why it is important to have your own documentation as to what happened after the crash.
A crash report will serve as key documentation to help you verify what happened and what damages were sustained. Without a crash report, you will be relying on the insurance adjuster to determine what happened.
Always file a crash report even if there is only minor damage. Sometimes, damages to a vehicle are not visible right away. Having a documented crash report that includes the dates and kind of damage will help you claim further damages should they arise later. Additionally, your memory of the incident could fade or the other party will have a different version of events after you have left the scene. Allow the police to take down details for the crash report and make sure that it is documented accurately.
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What Police Will Do at the Scene
Police are trained to take reports and are there to help when there is an accident. Police will be a neutral third party that may also help mitigate any tensions between parties after an accident. The police will know the right questions to ask to help file your crash report and will interview all the necessary parties.
In addition to providing support, police can also call for any medical assistance that may be required such as an ambulance or fire truck. It is their job to make sure that the area is safe for other drivers on the road as well and they will be able to direct traffic around the accident.
What to Do After a Car Accident
1. Call 911
Before filing a crash report with the police, take care to ensure you and everyone else is safe. Check yourself and any passengers for injuries first. If it is an emergency, call 911 or instruct someone else to call on your behalf. If you are seriously injured, try not to move and wait for help to arrive.
2. Get to Safety
Get to safety by moving out of the road onto the shoulder or sidewalk, if possible. Do not remain in your car if you can safely exit the vehicle and get to a safer place. If your car is still able to drive and it is safe to do so, move your car to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights to increase visibility.
3. Document the Scene and File a Crash Report
Once it is safe to do so, you may then document the scene and file a crash report with the police. Consider calling our lawyers first before your insurance agency so that we may help you determine what your options are.
What to Expect After Filing a Crash Report
After filing a crash report with your local law enforcement agency, consider speaking with an attorney before going to the insurance companies. Admitting fault or liability to your insurance company could reduce the value of your claim. Remember that anything said to your insurance company could be used against you when negotiating a settlement.
If there is damage to your vehicle, make sure it is well documented by the crash report. Do not repair the damage until after your insurance claim is filed and the insurance company has the chance to investigate it. If you repair the damages on your own, repair estimates from your insurance company could be hard to assess and may affect your claim.
Filing a crash report with the police does not automatically mean you are filing an insurance claim. The crash report serves only as a record of documentation of the incident.
Ask the police officer for a copy of your report or where you can get a copy. You will need a copy of this report for your insurance agency or a future lawsuit. Once you have a copy of the report, you will be able to review the report for accuracy and make any corrections as necessary.
After a car accident, you may be shaken up and not able to accurately judge your injuries or clearly remember what just happened. Make sure you know how to contact the officer who filed the report in case you need to provide additional details you remember later. More details may come to mind later after you have rested and calmed down.
Additional Information to Collect at the Accident Scene
Sometimes, there may not be an officer available right away to document the scene and file a crash report for you. In some states, police are not required to go to the scene of an accident if there are minimal damages or no injuries. Police may also be busy dealing with a public emergency and may not be able to come to the scene.
You will still be able to file a crash report later on your own, even if police do not respond to the scene of the accident. In the meantime, make sure you collect the information necessary to help file the report later. Important information includes:
- Name and contact information of the other driver or drivers involved
- Insurance information of the other driver or drivers involved
- Driver’s license and license plate numbers
- Witness names and contact information
- Note the road and weather conditions
- Note the time of the collision and location
- Take pictures of all vehicles involved
- Take pictures of any injuries you or your passengers may have
Documenting the scene accurately will help you file the report later and keep a personal record of what happened. The information collected will be important should you decide to file a lawsuit later. Clarifying who is at fault or who is financially responsible will be more easily determined if there is an accurate report of the accident.
Avoid discussing fault with the other party when going over the details and facts of the collision. Remain calm and try to collect as much information as possible.
Steps to Take to Be Prepared in the Future in the Event of a Car Accident
No one plans to be in a car accident, but taking certain steps to ensure you are ready in the event of a car accident can help reduce stress.
- Keep important documents in the car or with you. This includes proof of car insurance, registration, and your driver’s license.
- Consider keeping emergency items such as flares or orange cones to help increase visibility. Keep a paper and pen in the car to record information.
- Make sure to have the required amount of auto insurance as required by your state.
Get Help from Experienced Motor Vehicle Collision Lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our experienced car accident lawyers have handled many victims of car accidents. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you seek maximum compensation after a car accident. We may help you build the strongest case possible and seek the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Our firm also believes that a car accident injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.