When you’re in a car accident, no matter how minor it seems, one of the first things you should always do—if not the very first—is to call first responders. Get police on the scene and make sure that you and any witnesses present give them a statement.
Too many people think that after a minor accident there’s no reason to talk to the police. Just exchange information and go on your separate ways. The truth is, however, you never know how an accident is going to proceed after the event, and that police report can be a vital tool in pursuing your case for damages down the line. Explore the reasons why you need a police report after a car accident, for what it can and cannot be used, and why an injury lawyer is important to your case.
What a Police Report Does after a Car Accident
Following a car accident, a police report is an important document. It is taken right there, at the scene, so it will have accurate times, dates, observations taken down at the scene by the people involved.
If you call first responders, the police on the scene are required to take and file a report of the incident, which you can then access simply by contacting the local P.D. in the area where you had the accident. This document can be invaluable.
Keeping Your Facts Straight
As mentioned earlier, the police report will have current information as of the date and time the accident took place. This means when it comes time for you to fill out various papers, answer insurance or medical questions or the like, you will have access to information that is correct and current.
It can also be vital for you to keep your story straight. You’re going to have to answer the same questions from different people, and sometimes from the same people on different occasions. You don’t want inconsistencies in your story, and memory fades with time. Having access to the report helps you remember exactly what happened.
Record of Evidence and Witnesses
The police report may also contain observations and lists of evidence at the scene. It will also contain information about any witnesses who gave statements, which can be important if your lawyer needs to contact them to help testify.
The report can be a useful tool when your attorney negotiates with the insurance company about the facts of the case. This backup of your version of the facts can be important in getting you a larger settlement.
What It Cannot Do
What a police report cannot do is be used as evidence if your case goes to trial. This is because it’s a third-party report based on what other people said. In legal terms, this is called hearsay. The officer didn’t see the accident, so their testimony is just a record of what you and others said. It can, however, help to back up what other people said and to keep track of who needs to be called to testify.
If you’ve been in an accident, first call the police. Then call an attorney like those at Mitch Grissm and Associates. For years we’ve helped people across Tennessee get compensated for their car accident injuries and we can help you. Give us a call today.