When & How to File a Report for a Car Accident


Even if you don’t know much about police reports and even if you’ve never been in a car accident, you’ve probably heard of them. When a police officer responds to an automobile accident scene, they write a police report with information on the collision, statements from those who were engaged in it (as well as from witnesses), and other vital information.

Knowing what information a police report on a car accident contains, when and how to acquire one, and how a police report could be used in a lawsuit or settlement are all necessary for protecting your legal rights. Discover more about it by reading this article.

What Is a Car Accident Police Report?

When police officer arrives at the scene of an automobile accident, they record the incident there and write up a police report. The report will include particular information about the collision, statements from the drivers and any individuals involved in the collision, witness statements, and other crucial information that the officer noted. After an automobile collision, police reports are required to help determine the extent of the damage and who was responsible.

Particularly if the law enforcement’s assessments indicate that one driver is to blame for the majority or all of the accident, insurance companies and accident attorneys place a lot of attention on what the police report says. The police report often contains:

details of the crash and the people/vehicles/property involved
a drawn diagram of the accident (location, path of vehicles, point of collision)
in some instances, the officer’s findings or conclusions as to how or why the accident might have happened.

Statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses

Getting a Police Report

As mentioned above, to get a report the investigating officer who answers a call for assistance at the scene of a car accident creates a police report. The police report is a summary of information regarding the collision; it often includes accident-related data and the investigating officer’s assessments. Call 911 to confirm that first responders and police enforcement have been sent to the incident once you and your passengers have reached a safe area.

A police report can be obtained in one of two ways. You will have to pay money one way, but probably not the other. You must ask the local law enforcement agency that wrote the police report for a copy if you want to purchase one.

The investigating officer will normally give you a receipt bearing the police report’s identification number before departing the crash site. You should have no trouble getting a copy if you contact the traffic division of the regional law enforcement organization that attended to the scene of the vehicle accident and pay the administrative cost, which is ordinarily around $15.

Get the name(s), badge number(s), and, if available, the police or incident report number(s) of the law enforcement officer(s) before they leave the scene. It can take a few weeks for the investigating officer to finish the report and for it to be made public, regardless of how you receive the police report.

What’s in a Car Accident Police Report?

If you pay close attention, you might see the investigating officer at the scene of the car accident looking at cars, speaking to individuals, calculating distances, taking notes, and taking pictures. Some or all of these actions are being taken by the officer in order to get ready to write the police report. The police report, in essence, is a summary of the accident investigation conducted by the police officer. Frequently, the report will include some or all of the following details: