If you’ve been in a car accident, one of your first steps (after making sure everyone involved is okay) is to call the police and report the accident. Police departments will dispatch officers to the scene to document the events of the accident and develop a written report.
The police report will include information about testimony from drivers and witnesses, physical evidence at the accident site, and any other information the officer believes to be important enough to write down.
Police reports can affect personal injury claims
The report might not be admissible for use as evidence in a case, but it still contains a lot of information that can be helpful for your legal team as it gathers evidence for your case, including witness information and the officer’s own conclusions as to who caused the accident.
And while the report will not heavily influence decisions of liability in the courtroom, it may well influence settlement negotiations with an insurance company. Given the fact that a significant majority of auto accident claims settle out of court, this makes the police report an extremely useful tool for your negotiations. While there are some ways to counter what’s written in a report, adjusters will generally take the word of police officers quite seriously.
Officers who come to the scene will give you a case number you can use to access your police report when you call or visit the police department. It may take a few days after the accident for the report to be placed on file, but once it is available you have the right to request a copy, whether it be for legal reasons or for your own purposes.
For more information about how to use police reports to your benefit after an accident, contact an experienced Sarasota personal injury lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.