Accidents have increased over the years. Many accidents are caused by negligent driving and heavy traffic congestion on the roads and highways throughout the country day after day. Car accidents are common. Many of them are grievous due to reckless or negligent driving and not adhering to mandatory safety precautions while driving a car.

Accident victims and their loved ones often find it difficult to return to normal, everyday life. The victim may have suffered from extreme injuries requiring prolonged, expensive medical treatment. 

Some accidents result in death, forcing families into severe financial and emotional hardship. It can be extraordinarily difficult to carry-on without support. The cost of mounting hospital bills without the means to pay due to long term convalescence or permanent disability are just some of the damages that an accident victim can seek to recover.

What to Do When You Are Involved in a Crash?

An accident can be traumatizing, but keeping your presence of mind and calling emergency medical services and the police is the right thing to do to protect your health and legal rights. Having a police report in hand will help you to substantiate your claim for compensation faster. Police reports become part of the official investigation record of the accident.

What Is a Police Report?

A police report contains information in a summarized form regarding the accident, including any facts and conclusions found by the investigating officer. The investigating officer is a third party, independent government official whose responsibility it is to ensure the safety of accident victims and others from further danger. The officer who arrives at the scene of an accident will provide his or her account of what they witness. Any conclusions made in the report are based on the officer’s prior training and experience. 

You can obtain a copy of the police report if you reach out to the local law enforcement office. You may have to reproduce a receipt or ticket provided by the responding officer which contains the identification number for the police report. You can usually obtain the report by contacting the traffic division of the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident and pay a nominal administrative fee.

How to Obtain the Police Report if You Do Not Have a Receipt?

In some cases, you may not have the receipt containing the identification number of the police report. If you want a copy, you may have to provide additional details that help identify the report. Some information you will likely need are:

  • Date of the accident
  • Time of the accident
  • Location of the accident
  • Name of other party or parties

If you want a free copy of the police report, you could contact the insurance adjuster, who will likely have also contacted the police station for a copy as part of their insurance assessment  of the accident damage. The insurance company, however, may not easily share this information with you. 

The police should have conducted an unbiased, independent investigation into the entire case, revealing how the other driver’s negligence caused the accident that caused you and your loved one’s trauma. 

The insurance companies will then have to compensate the victim in accordance with the governing policy. Defense lawyers and insurance adjusters will find it more difficult to settle out of court for lower compensation when the police report findings are in your favor.

The Texas Department of Transportation reports that there were 12,897 serious injury crashes in 2019 with 15,843 people sustaining a serious injury. There were 256,338 people injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes  and there were no days without a fatality on Texas roadways in 2019. As the data shows, motor vehicle accidents are an all-too common occurrence and they have serious consequences. It is important to understand what to do and what your options are if you are involved in an accident.

How Will a Lawyer Help to Get You a Police Report?

The police will carry out their investigation of the accident and file an official report where it can be accessed by interested parties in accordance with the local station’s protocol. The process can be cumbersome and bureaucratic. If you want to acquire a police report, you may require the help of a Personal Injury Lawyer

Since evidence like police reports and medical records are essential to your claim for personal injury compensation, you may want the help of a professional attorney who has experience with accident cases. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney will know how to obtain important records that support your claim for damages.

Knowing What a Police Report Contains

The report will contain findings from the accident investigation, including how the accident occurred, what injuries the victim sustained, any property damage, traffic levels, time of day, and more. 

Information that will be pertinent to your claim includes:

  • The approximate time of the accident 
  • The date of the accident
  • The location of the collision, to include landmarks and cross streets
  • Contact information for both parties involved in the accident like name, address, phone numbers, insurance information, etc.
  • Witness statements and their contact information
  • Visible damage to the vehicles involved in the accident
  • The weather, visibility, and road conditions
  • Photos of the car accident
  • Photos of any injuries before they heal
  • Statements from all parties involved in the accident 
  • Law violations, such as failure to stop at an intersection or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Citations by the responding officer, if any
  • Finally, opinions on how the collision may have happened to ascertain fault

These are some of the things that go into making a police report by an investigating officer at the accident scene. This is also the type of information that is helpful to proving the other party’s liability for the accident.

Better to Have a Legal Professional on Board

When you have a legal professional on board, they can deal with the bureaucratic hassle of obtaining a police report and ensure any gaps in information are property investigated:

  • A competent lawyer will understand what information in the report requires further investigation. 
  • A lawyer can scrutinize any opinions or conclusions noted by the reporting officer to ensure they are factually accurate. 
  • Finally, a lawyer will know what in the police report is helpful for your case and what is not.

In most cases, police reports can be used to negotiate a fair car insurance settlement. Hire a San Antonio Auto Accident Lawyer who will obtain the police report on your behalf and can otherwise help you to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries, property damage, and other damages.