If you need to file a car accident claim, then one of the things you will need to know is how to get a car accident report from the police. Every time a vehicle crash happens and police are called to the scene, an officer fills out a report based on information the he or she gathers. This information can include statements from the drivers of both vehicles, witness accounts, driver’s license and car insurance data, the officer’s visual observations of the vehicles, the recorded time and date, and any observations the officer may have of the accident scene.
As you can see, it’s very important that you get your hands on a copy of the accident report. Here are the easy steps to take to secure your copy of the report:
- Call the phone number on the piece of paper or business card given to you by the police officer at the scene and request a copy of the accident report.
- Go to the website listed on the piece of paper given to you by the officer and download the accident report. Sometimes online access is an option.
- If you didn’t receive a piece of paper or business card at the crash scene, then call the police station and ask for the officer you met.
- When you speak to the officer responsible, give him your name and a description of the crash to help him remember. Other details you can offer him include date, time and location. If you get a recorded message, provide him with your name, address, and phone number and request that he call you back.
- If you’re not able to reach the officer, then a receptionist at the main desk at the police department may be able to help, or you can call the local courthouse and speak to the clerk.
- If you cannot access the police report online or have it emailed to you, you may need to drive to the police department or courthouse to get a copy. Sometimes there is a fee, so bring cash with you.
- If you still are not able to get a copy of the accident report after speaking to the officer, police department and courthouse, then contact your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company. The insurance companies often have copies of accident reports and they can mail or email you a copy.
- Another route may be to contact the DMV or state bureau of motor vehicles. DMV specialists can offer you guidance about how to get a copy of your accident report.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to get a copy of your accident report quickly and with little effort. However, if the task proves to be more drawn out, then be persistent. And you might have to be patient in the face of bureaucracy.
It’s very important that you get a copy of the accident report from the police, because it is a necessary document that you will need to file an insurance claim. It’s also an essential report for filing a legal claim to get the financial compensation you are entitled to.
If you need help getting a car accident report from the police or want to learn more about your legal rights in a car accident case, contact a skilled and experienced attorney at Slack Davis Sanger. We help clients every day who are facing the same challenges you are. We offer a free initial consultation, so call us at 972-534-2855.
WHAT THINGS SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT HOW TO GET A CAR ACCIDENT REPORT FROM THE POLICE?
First, know that you’re entitled to a copy of the report. No one can deny you access to it. If you were one of the drivers involved in the accident, then you have a right to see the police report. Many times, the officer who arrives on the scene will give you a piece of paper with a contact phone number or website where you can either access the report online or call someone who can email the report to you. This piece of paper will also often have an incident report number that enables a person to quickly identify the correct report.
It’s best to get a copy of the police report right away rather than putting it off for several days. These are the kinds of things we tend to forget about if we wait too long to follow up on them. The last thing you want to do is lose the phone number or web address before you’ve gotten your copy of the police report.
How to get a car accident report from the police tends to get much more complicated and more time consuming if you have to start from scratch and call the traffic department several days later without an incident report number. Bureaucracy moves slowly when you have to start from scratch.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET A POLICE REPORT AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
That depends. Some police departments move quickly and others can be slow as molasses. You can increase your chances of getting an accident report fast if you do your homework and are well-prepared. Get your ducks in a row and take good notes.
Information you may need to obtain a car accident report from the police
Following is some basic information you may need on hand to expedite your search for a car accident report:
- Name and badge number of the police officer who responded to the scene
- Incident report # that identifies the correct document
- Phone number of the local police station
- Website of the DMV, police department, and local or county records department
- Time, date and location of the accident
- Phone number or email address of both your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company.
By having these things on hand before you start your search for a copy of an accident report, it will save a lot of time and prevent you from having to dig through your purse or wallet or look things up online while you’re talking to someone on the phone.