Certain important documents can make or break your automobile accident case. One of them is a police report. When you file a compensation claim with the other party’s insurance company or file a lawsuit, you will need to provide evidence of the accident happening, which can be done through a police report.
To create a police report, you can simply call the police to the accident site and let them do the work. However, obtaining this report can require some effort. Consult a Salem Oregon personal injury lawyer to know more about the significance of police reports and how to obtain them.
What is a police report?
When an accident occurs and people call the police to the accident site, the officers investigate the scene and speak to witnesses. They note down whatever information they find valuable at the accident scene. They also write about their own perspectives of the accident, that is, what they think happened at the scene. A police report usually consists of the following information.
- Details of the crash
- Names of people involved
- Details of vehicles in the crash
- Statements from various parties, such as drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- The officer’s own conclusions (this is not always accurate and can be challenged in court)
- A rough drawing or diagram of the accident site
How to obtain a police report?
When the police officers create the report, they do not share it with the people involved in the accident. They take it with them to the police station. However, you do have the right to get access to this report. You can ask for a duplicate by contacting the police department that created the report. You need to file an application for it via mail, online or you can go down to the station in person.
There are two ways to obtain this report- a paid way and a non-paid way. To obtain the paid copy, you need to request it from the law enforcement officers and pay an administrative fee. After that, you should easily receive the report. For a free report, the insurance adjuster handling your claim can get the report for you.
However, no matter how much you are willing to pay for the report, you probably would not be able to obtain it until a few weeks after the accident. This is because the investigating officer takes a few weeks to complete the report and make it available to other people.
Why is a police report critical in a case?
Police reports can work in your favor when proving your claim in court. It contains crucial information regarding the accident. Moreover, if the other party ever claims that the accident never occurred, this police report can serve as evidence.