If you’ve been involved in an auto accident, most people may be hesitant about involving the police in the matter, but most times, it’s inevitable. You may feel that you were at fault for the accident and are worried about the consequences, or you may think you can resolve the matter without police involvement. However, many legal complications could arise if you don’t involve the police.
This is especially true if your vehicle was irreparably damaged or you (or a passenger) were injured. If you file a police report, you commonly protect yourselves, especially when car accident claims are made or you’ve been hurt.
A police report is a legal document written by a police officer which details precisely what occurred, who was involved, and if damage or injuries were sustained. Depending on the accident’s severity, the police report may range from one page to a more detailed multiple paged descriptive document.
Once the report is made, you will be provided with a police case number. This case number, and subsequent report, play a vital role if you need to file a claim or sue for damages or compensation for injuries.
Most areas of California, including Costa Mesa, have online sites that allow you to obtain a copy of the police report filed on your accident. Using your personal information or the case (or incident number) you were given at the scene, you can look up the report and print or save it. Also, “hard copies” are available, and by calling the agency that filed the report (for example, the Costa Mesa police department), they will tell you where it’s available. However, that usually means waiting in long lines and more.
The best, and most efficient way to obtain the report, is by consulting with a Costa Mesa personal injury law firm that can not only obtain the report in full but also counsel you on how its contents affect your claim or lawsuit.
What Information Is Usually In an Accident Police Report?
You will be dazed or even injured when you’ve been in a serious or even minor auto accident. Therefore, getting the correct information and details of your accident may not be easy for you to do.
Also, the information is vital to assess your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and much more. This is especially true if your car is severely damaged or you have injuries due to the other driver’s negligence.
An accident police report usually includes the following:
- Where, geographically, the car accident occurred. Sometimes diagrams are included.
- The date and exact time of your accident.
- The car registration details of all the cars involved.
- Whether anyone sustained any type of injury.
- Whether there was any damage to your car, and possibly a description.
- Statements of witnesses at the scene and other drivers involved.
Your personal injury auto accident law team will use all this information to your advantage. This is true whether it’s to negotiate with insurance companies or if you are seeking monetary damages due to the other driver’s negligence.
Will Making or Viewing My Police Report Help Me?
Usually, that answer is yes, it will. There are specific reasons why making and keeping the police report on your accident is essential.
Some of these significant reasons are:
- It is an official and unbiased report which details the facts – Your police report represents an official unbiased third-party report of the details and specifics of your accident. If you’re involved, your memory of the event can be faulty, and there can be conflicting views on precisely what occurred.
- If you have injuries that become symptomatic after your accident – If you develop any injuries days or weeks after your accident, then the police report may help your personal injury law team to establish that your injuries were caused by your accident.
- IF you notice damage to your car after the car accident – Your vehicle might appear undamaged upon inspection after your accident. However, later you might see that it’s driving differently and the car is damaged. A police report may help to link the damage to the previous accident.
- If you find it necessary to pursue legal action or negotiate with your insurance carrier after your accident – When making a car compensation claim, almost all insurers will require a police case or event number. The information in the report will be vital for any compensation claims you may make and positively affect your chances of success.
There are many more reasons, but your aggressive personal injury accident lawyer will thoroughly explain the facts of the report and how these facts can help you obtain the rightful compensation you’re entitled to.
Should I Wait Before Making a Police Report?
It’s always best to consult your personal injury law team, but usually, the answer is no, don’t wait. Also, there are accidents where the police should be notified immediately, such as:
- When someone is killed or injured in any manner.
- Another driver fails to stop and exchange insurance information, etc.
- The other driver may be allegedly under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs.
- There are hazards at the scene, such as grave damage to structures, etc.
- Someone acts aggressively or even criminally towards you.
If there are any questions as to making a report, obtaining one, or understanding how the report’s contents affect you, consulting with your experienced Riverside or Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer is legally always in your best interests.
I Need to Obtain and Use a Police Report; How Should I Proceed?
Most all Costa Mesa or California personal injury lawyers will tell you that many of their clients have been in accidents that weren’t their fault. Unfortunately, they didn’t file a police report after their accident which made it difficult or impossible to obtain the total compensation they deserved for their injuries, recovery, or damage to their vehicle.
The police report of your accident will provide you with an official record of your accident that you need. It will contain information that will be important in negotiating with your insurance company or any future personal injury litigation.
Consult with a knowledgeable, experienced, and empathetic Costa Mesa personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. By doing so, you will help ensure you get the funds that you rightfully and legally deserve.