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How to Obtain an Accident Report

Whether you’ve been involved in a major car accident that could result in lawsuits and settlements or your crash was fairly minor, obtaining an accident report is vital. It’s important for you to know what was put in the report about your part in the accident and what the officers said about whose fault it was. However, you don’t automatically get a copy of the report, even if you’re deemed to be at fault. You have to request it and sometimes, even then it’s not easy to get one and will need to hire a personal injury attorney to force the issue.
What Is an Accident Report?
An accident report is also referred to as a police report and it is what is created when a police officer is called to the scene of a car accident, motorcycle accident, bus accident, pedestrian accident, or any other type of accident. Although a police report is filed whenever there is a crime, an accident report is only written when someone is involved in an accident, such as a car crash, slip and fall, or workplace mishap.
The report includes specific details related to the accident, such as what occurred just before the accident, the actions of all parties, statements from all parties, witness statements, and other details that the officer observes. A police report is usually necessary to determine whose fault the accident was and what damages there are because the officer typically gives an opinion on the fault and notes what injuries and property damages are present.
How to Get an Accident Report
First and foremost, to get an accident report, you have to call the police. The other party may try to persuade you not to call the police, but even in minor accidents such as slip and fall accidents or fender benders, you want that report so that you can protect your interests. Keep in mind that even minor accidents can have major consequences in terms of injury, so don’t think that because you don’t feel hurt right after the accident that you haven’t been injured.
The officer who takes the report will provide you with an incident number that’s assigned to your case. This number will allow you to get a copy of the report once it’s been filed with the police department. It may take a few weeks or so before it is available, but you should get your copy as soon as possible. In many cases, you can request a copy online, by submitting a form through the mail, or visiting the police station in person.
Note that you will probably have to pay a fee for a copy of the police report. That fee covers the administrative costs associated with providing the police report and shipping it to you. The fee is normally around $15, but might be more or less depending on your jurisdiction.
It’s also possible to get a copy of the police report through your insurance company once they’ve obtained it from the police department. This is advantageous for you because the insurance company usually will not charge you for a copy. It will, however, take longer for you to get the report through the insurance company, if they’re willing to give it to you at all.
Getting a police report after an accident isn’t often very difficult, but it can be a hassle. If you hire an attorney to assist you with a personal injury case, they can get the report for you, saving you time and aggravation.

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