A car accident is a jarring experience that can leave you feeling disoriented and confused. However, it is important to remain calm and take some simple steps to ensure that your rights are protected.
‘The first thing you should do after a car accident is call the police. The police will create a report documenting the accident, which can be used as valuable evidence if you need to file an insurance claim or take legal action. In addition, the police report can help to establish who was at fault for the accident.
If the other driver tries to deny responsibility, the police report can be used to support your version of events. Therefore, it is always best to err on the side of caution and contact the authorities after any car accident, no matter how minor.
Steps to Take After a Car Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, there are some crucial steps to take to ensure that you’re safe and legally protected.
Below, we list the proper steps to take after an accident occurred:
- Do not leave the scene of the car accident.
- Call the police and wait for a law enforcement officer to arrive on the accident scene.
- Make sure that you and your vehicle are in a safe location away from traffic.
- Begin to gather evidence: take photos and videos, get the contact information of any witnesses and people involved in the accident, and obtain the badge number and contact information of the responding authorities.
- Ask the responding officer for an incident receipt. The incident receipt will contain the identifying number for the crash report created by the officer.
- Track your costs associated with the car accident: medical bills, property damage, lost wages, etc.
- Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for help.
What is Contained on a Car Accident Police Report?
A police report is a key document in car accident cases. It can be used to help prove who was at fault for the accident, and it can also be used to establish a pattern of negligence.
The police report is filled out by the police officer who responds to the scene, and it is logged with the relevant law enforcement agency. In some cases, the report may also be filed with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
The police report will typically include information about the vehicles involved in the accident, the names and contact information of the drivers and witnesses, and a description of the accident scene. The police report may also include information about any traffic citations that were issued at the time of the accident.
Why are Police Reports Important?
After a car accident, the details included in the police report can greatly influence how an insurance company or court may view your case or claim.
It is important to be sure to describe the events of the collision to a responding police officer and give all the information possible WITHOUT admitting fault. Fault determinations will be made after the fact if you do not admit fault. An attorney can help you either plead or defend your case.
Car accident victims are often shaken up and not thinking clearly about the events that had just occurred. Mistakes happen when relaying information about the crash to police, but importance of not admitting fault cannot be understated.
Where Can I Obtain an Accident Report?
As mentioned above, you’re typically given a car accident report receipt by a responding police officer. On the receipt will be a code for your specific crash report.
You can either request a hard copy of the accident report, or view the crash report online.
Insurance Companies and Police Reports
When car accidents occur, insurance companies will often request a copy of the police report in order to help them process the claim. Police reports can be extremely helpful in determining who is at fault in the accident, as well as providing contact information for those involved, witnesses, and the name of the investigating officer.
In some cases, there may be discrepancies between the police report and the account given by the drivers involved. If this occurs, insurance adjusters will conduct their own investigation in order to determine what really happened.
It’s important to remember that you should always tell the truth when dealing with insurance companies – lying about the details of an accident can result in harsh consequences. An insurance adjuster will have requested access to the police report often before you file a claim.
If you have any questions about how your insurance company will use a police report, contact a car accident attorney for more information.
Contact Your Insurance Provider as Soon as Possible After an Auto Accident
In order to stay in line with laws on the statute of limitations in your state, to preserve evidence, and to obtain compensation as quickly as possible, you should file a claim with your insurance company as soon as you can after an auto accident.
Car accidents can be difficult to deal with, and the recovery period from an accident can be arduous. It’s understandable if you’re suffering from serious injuries that your insurance claim doesn’t get sent out immediately.
But still, you should try your hardest to submit a claim to your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident so that your memory of the events are clear, evidence is preserved, witness information is kept safe, and your claim has the best chance of being complete.
Hiring a Car Accident Attorney
An experienced lawyer will use the accident report, witness statements, documentary evidence (photos, videos, receipts, medical records), and more to prove that a defendant acted negligently, leading to the crash and your subsequent injuries.
If you’ve been involved in a car crash and suffered injuries at no fault of your own, you may qualify to file a car accident lawsuit.
In order to ensure that your claim is viable and your case is strong, it’s important that you preserve evidence and with the help of a law firm, assess your damages.
Evidence in Car Accident Cases
Car crash cases are built on strong evidence and rely on your ability to preserve that evidence.
Evidence in auto accident cases typically include:
- The police report created after an accident by the responding law enforcement officer.
- Photos and videos of the scene of the accident.
- Witness statements and testimony.
- Medical records and detailed reports on injuries suffered.
Damages in Car Accident Cases
Damages refer to the economic and non-economic losses resulting from a car crash.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help victims determine the value of their damages and make a demand in court for them.
Typical damages in an auto accident case include:
- Medical bills and medical expenses such as therapy costs, medications, etc.
- Lost wages or lost income
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earning ability
- Lost quality of life
The extent of damages in a car accident case can be endless depending on the severity of the accident and the injuries or trauma suffered. Your attorney will be able to determine the depth of your potential damages and how to best approach demanding compensation in a court of law.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney at Bodewell Law
If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident at no fault of your own, it’s in your best interest to contact a personal injury lawyer near you.
Bodewell Law handles car accident cases with extreme care. We understand the trauma resulting from a car accident and we’ll make sure that the defendant is held liable to pay for your damages and injuries.