More than one person has come to us after being injured in a motor vehicle crash who didn’t call the police immediately after an accident for purposes of getting a police report. That might be the biggest mistake that somebody can make when it comes to building a strong personal injury case. Here’s what they’re losing by not having a police report of the car accident:
Police will conduct an investigation at the accident scene and the vehicles involved. In the crash report, they will note the details of what likely happened, and the evidence to back that up. As a result, if you end up in a personal injury trial or a disputed damages claim, you can enter that report into evidence. You may also be able to call on that officer as a witness.
The driver who caused the accident may have given you false identity information. The officer who investigates the accident will insist on proper identification and insurance information from all concerned. That information will be noted on an accident report. In addition, if the at fault driver was uninsured, the police report will note that important fact in the report. That can show irresponsibility and negligence which can help your case.
The Other Side of the Story
Although the crash might clearly be the fault of the other driver, a police report will probably contain the other person’s side of the story. This is important to know, especially if that driver admits liability to the on-scene police officer. Admissions of liability are almost always noted by police officers in accident reports.
A police report will also note the contact information for any eyewitnesses or post-occurrence witnesses to the crash. Assuming you were seriously injured, and you want to seek compensation for damages, it’s important to have the testimony of these individuals. Yes, circumstantial evidence is permitted in accident cases, but eyewitnesses can help build a strong case.
The Traffic Tickets
The person who caused the accident may have been issued any number of traffic tickets for the incident. If he or she pleads guilty to one of those tickets that points toward liability for the accident and it can be used against him or her in a personal injury case.
Signs of Injury
When the police accident report is completed, it will note whether or not a person refused paramedics and an ambulance. It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after an accident. If you get on-scene medical treatment and/or are transported directly to the hospital, the police report will likely document this. The police report and your medical records will be the first of a long chain of documents that support your claim of serious injuries.
Call an Attorney
Don’t get talked out of calling the police to an accident scene by the person who caused the accident. They have a reason for not wanting police at the scene, and you have every reason to want to document the accident and your injuries. It’s less likely that the at fault insurer will be compelled to compensate you without that accident report. If you call 911, and the person decides to drive off, stay at the scene until police arrive. Seek immediate medical attention, and then call a personal injury lawyer DC relies on as soon as possible for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn, P.C. for their insight into car accidents and personal injury cases.