If you're ever in a car accident, one of the first things you'll want to do is to file an official police report and obtain a copy of it for your own records. By doing so, fault in your accident can be determined more accurately, and your car insurance claim can be processed more quickly. Still, there are some things you should know about filing a police report in the event that you find yourself in the aftermath of a car accident.
It's Never a Good Idea to Forego a Report
Sometimes, people think that it's easier to settle a car accident outside of court and without getting the insurance companies involved--especially if damage to the cars is minimal. However, even if you wish to settle the situation out of court, it's still a good idea to have a police report done; after all, you never know whether or not you can trust the other motorist involved in the accident. If they try to start a lawsuit with you, even after you agreed to settle out of court, at least you'll have an official police report to use in court.
You Should Obtain the Officer's Information
After you've been in a car accident, you're going to be understandably shaken up or frazzled, so you might not remember all the details of the accident as clearly as you'd like. This is where it can be helpful to obtain the police officer's contact information or, at the very least, department/district contact information so you can call to update your police report, should any new details come to you shortly after the accident.
When A Police Report May Need to Wait Or Cannot Be Filed
Depending on where you get into a car accident, an officer may not be readily available to take your report--or, if the accident occurred on private property, an officer may not be able to take a report at all. If this is the case, it'll be up to you to document as much as possible regarding the details of the accident. This means taking plenty of pictures, obtaining contact and insurance information with other involved parties, and even getting witness statements (along with their contact information) to use in your case.
As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind when it comes to filing a police report after a car accident. By following these tips and working with a dedicated personal injury attorney, like those at Oot & Associates Law Offices, you'll be in the best position possible.