How To Speak With The Police After A Car Accident
One of the most common mistakes we see after car accidents is victims not filing a police report. After a small fender bender or scrape, many people just think exchanging insurance information is enough to stay protected. However, you should always contact the police to file a report no matter how small the accident. A police report is one of the best pieces of evidence after a car wreck. Often times, especially in cases of head, neck, and spinal injuries, people don’t realize how severe their injuries are until well after the accident. Then when they need to file a claim, that claim can be denied because there is no formal report of the accident.
So if you get into a car accident, it’s wise to talk to the police. Talking to the police can be intimidating and you may be worried about incriminating yourself accidentally, so we’ve put together a guide to help:
Call The Police Immediately After An Accident
The first step is to call the police immediately following an accident, even if there are no obvious injuries or property damage. The sooner the police arrive, the more accurate their report will be about the accident. Call 911 immediately following the crash.
What The Police Will Collect
Police reports are very straightforward. When they arrive on the scene they will collect the following information:
● Date and time of the accident
● Personal information of the parties involved
● Statements from the drivers
● Statements from any witnesses
● Information about the vehicles involved in the accident
● Description of the road and any other environmental issues
● Any video or surveillance equipment that may have documented the accident
Police will also diagram the accident and conduct a very brief investigation into how the accident happened.
What To Say During Your Interview
When you speak to the police to give your statement, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is stick to the facts. Do not get emotional or pass blame or admit fault. Typically, police officers will not give an opinion on fault when filing their report. So it’s best to just simply describe the incident to the best of your recollection without offering anything that can guide their opinion. Describe what you were doing, what the other driver was doing, and how the accident happened. When you are done, make sure to get the information and badge numbers of the responding officers. That way if you remember any details after the accident, you can follow up with more information.
Get A Copy Of Your Police Report
After the accident, you’ll want to get a copy of your police report. Normally you can get a copy within ten days after the accident. Carefully review the report and make sure all the details are correct. If you see any mistakes or incomplete information, you can request to have the report reviewed. Even though police reports are not admissible in court, insurance companies often use them to determine claim settlements.
What To Do If You Didn’t File A Police Report
Sometimes police cannot respond to every accident and you don’t get to file a report on site. In these cases, you will still want to contact the police and file your own report. If you are at the scene of the accident, here are some things to collect:
● Collect the information listed above that the police officer would collect
● Pictures of the accident, cars, and injuries
● Ask witnesses if you can record their statements on your phone
● Look for any video surveillance equipment nearby and ask if they can store the footage for reference
This information can help police create an accurate accident report. If you weren’t able to file a police report and are now having your claim denied, you still have options to get a fair settlement. At Shapiro, Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh our attorneys can help. We have over a century of combined experience helping car accident victims no matter the circumstances. Give us a call today for a free consultation to learn more!
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