If you find yourself involved in a Vero Beach car accident and want to make a claim on your insurance, you’ll need to obtain a copy of the police report. This is a very useful document that you might want to refer to in future, perhaps when dealing with your insurance claim or if there is a court case resulting from the accident.
What is a police report?
A police report summarizes the details of an incident, such as a crime or, as in this case, a car accident. The report is created by the attending officer — that is, the officer who responds to the incident. The police report will list the known facts regarding the accident and may also contain the opinions of the officer. The investigating officer will usually make notes, ask witnesses what they saw, ask the drivers what they were doing when the accident happened, measuring distances, taking photographs, and generally recording anything that might be relevant to the report later on.
Contents of the police report
A police report may contain various types of information. Points commonly entered into a police report include:
- The location, date, and approximate time of the accident
- Details of the people involved in the accident, including identifying information (names, addresses, phone numbers etc) and insurance information
- Witnesses’ identifying information and contact details
- Where the vehicles were damaged
- The conditions at the time of the accident (weather, lighting, whether the road was in good repair, etc)
- A diagram of the accident
- Involved parties’ statements
- Witness statements
- Any citations or violations of the law
- The officer’s opinions as to how the accident came to occur and who, if anyone, was at fault.
Obtaining the police report
There are two ways in which you can get your copy of the police report. The first way is via your insurance company. Contact the claims representative for your insurance company and find out if they have requested the police report. If they have, you can then ask them to send you a copy. This is usually the most convenient way to get the report and will save you some money.
If the insurance company doesn’t have the police report, you will have to seek help from the law enforcement office that generated the report. Typically, one of the assisting officers will have given you a receipt after speaking to you following the accident. This receipt will have an identifying number. You can use this number when you call law enforcement. Contact the traffic division of the appropriate law office, and quote the identification number.
If you have mislaid the receipt or didn’t get one at the time, just tell the law enforcement office the time, date and location of the accident. This will usually be enough to track down the report.
You will usually have to pay an administration fee. This is only around $15, however. Remember that it might take the investigating officer some time to complete the report — perhaps a few weeks.
Why does your insurance companies have your police report?
The police report provides your insurance company with important information they will need to process your claim. The police report may also help show that you weren’t at fault.
If you need to enter into settlement negotiations following your accident, the police report may well be used to help resolve the case. If you decide to pursue a car accident lawsuit, you may also be allowed to use the police report to support your case.
If you think you may need to sue for compensation following a car accident, you’ll need expert legal advice. Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group can help you get the compensation you deserve.