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If you have ever been in a car accident, then you know that having a copy of the police report can be essential if you are dealing with insurance companies. This is also true if you are facing a lawsuit concerning the accident.
Knowing how to access the accident report can depend entirely on where the accident happened since some local law enforcement agencies have different policies. Overall, it is important to understand your rights when it comes to getting a copy of the report should you be in an accident.
Wondering how to access car accident records? Keep reading to learn more.
What is a Car Accident Record?
Every time a car accident occurs and the police are called, there is a record of the details that are taken. This record often contains every detail of the accident from who was involved to witness statements and much more.
Car accident reports are vital in determining who may have caused the accident and other pertinent details. This can be helpful to not only the drivers involved, but also to the insurance companies who cover the involved vehicles.
It should be noted that a car accident record not only proves who may have caused the accident, but it can also prevent unfounded lawsuits. This means that a car accident can protect individuals from being sued or being held liable for something that is not their fault.
Overall, when you have a car accident, the police report acts as the evidence for the investigation that typically occurs afterward. By including all of the details of the accident, it can be determined who is responsible for any damages that may have occurred.
How to Access Car Accident Records
When it comes to obtaining a car accident record, there are several ways to go about getting access to them. For the most part, it depends entirely on whether or not was the driver of one of the vehicles that were in the accident.
If you are one of the drivers in the accident, and you called the local law enforcement agency to come and take the report, you will receive a receipt from the officer. Once they have completed their investigation by talking to the parties involved, they typically will provide you with a case number to reference.
After the accident, you will typically be able to use the case number and receipt the officer gave you to obtain a copy of the police report. Keep in mind that you will likely be asked to pay a fee to get access to the report, and the cost will vary depending on the agency.
You may be able to receive a free copy of the report if you choose to go through your insurance agency instead. The insurance adjuster will typically contact local law enforcement to obtain a copy of the report and will usually pass it along to you.
It is important to keep in mind that in some states or jurisdictions, you may not be able to access a car accident report without a court order. In cases such as this, you will need to contact an attorney who can attempt to obtain the car accident report for you.
The bottom line when it comes to accessing a car accident record is that if you are involved in an accident, you will likely be able to contact the local law enforcement agency. Whether you do so yourself or through your insurance company is entirely up to you.
What Information is in a Car Accident Record?
If you have never been in a car accident before, you may be wondering what type of information may be in an accident report. When you are the one involved in the accident, you may want to ensure that all of the details are correct.
Wondering what type of information may be in a car accident record? Keep reading to learn more.
Information About People Involved
One of the first pieces of information you will find in a car accident record is the contact details of the parties involved. This typically includes names, addresses, telephone numbers, and insurance information.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, the accident record will typically include their information as well. The reason for this is so the witnesses can be contacted later on especially if they are needed to testify in court.
Details About the Accident
In addition to the information about the people involved in the accident, the report will also typically include details about the accident itself. Both the insurance companies and court systems will want to be able to piece the details together with this information.
The details of the accident typically include the location, time, weather conditions, and more about the scene of the accident. This information can go a long way to proving what may have caused the accident in the first place.
Another important piece of information that should be included in a car accident record is the witness statements. In addition to who was involved, it is important to speak to all parties involved and even any witnesses to the accident.
These witness statements will not only include those who were directly involved in the accident but also anyone who witnessed it. This often means that other cars or people were in the vicinity of the accident at the time of the collision.
Specific Collision Details
Oftentimes, a car accident report will include a diagram or drawing of the accident details themselves. This piece of information can be vital in determining exactly what happened and who may have caused the accident to happen.
This information typically includes where the vehicles were before the accident and where they ended up after the collision. It can also include any damage that occurred to each of the vehicles and injuries that may have happened.
Other Pertinent Information
In addition to the previously mentioned information, some law enforcement officers include other details in the car accident report. This information may include any tickets that may have been given in light of the investigation.
If the officer chose to issue a ticket as a result of the investigation, they will often include this information in the accident record. They may also include their opinions and best guesses as to what happened to sum up the report.
Do Insurance Companies Use Car Accident Records?
In most cases, both insurance companies will request a copy of the car accident record from the law enforcement agency. They do this so the insurance adjuster can perform their own investigation into the accident.
As they are investigating, they use the car accident records to match up what is stated in the claim from the covered party. Throughout their investigation, they often are ensuring that all of the details are the same and that nothing was left out.
Since the insurance company representatives were not at the location of the accident, the only way they can prove what happened is by obtaining a car accident record. This record helps them determine whether they will pay out a claim or not.
Overall, insurance companies use car accident records to determine how the claim should be paid out. The car accident report can come in handy if the insurance company comes to a different conclusion than the law enforcement officer.
Is Car Accident Records Admissible in Court?
Whether or not a car accident record is admissible in court, should the determination of the court be necessary, is entirely dependent on the laws in your jurisdiction. In some cases, the car accident record is allowed to be used in a court case, while other times it is not.
For the most part, when the case is brought to civil court, the car accident record is considered admissible. This means that it can be used to prove wrongdoing and can make or break a case in this type of court.
However, if the case is being heard in the circuit court, most car accident records are considered inadmissible. The reason for this is that it is considered to be “hearsay” since it was a report taken outside of the court's purview.
What Steps Should You Take After a Car Accident?
If you have been in a car accident it is recommended that you file a report with the local law enforcement. The reason for this is that you will then be able to use this report as a proof to both the insurance agency and other parties that may become involved.
Whether the accident is deemed to be your fault or not, you should always inform your car insurance company. They can then access the car accident record to make their own determination as to whether or not the damages to your car will be paid.
It is important to note that if you have any questions about what to do after you have had a car accident, it is recommended that you contact a legal professional. Doing so can help you save time and money in the long run.
Reference Legal Explanations
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"How to Access Car Accident Records". Legal Explanations. Accessed on December 9, 2023. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-access-car-accident-records/.
"How to Access Car Accident Records". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-access-car-accident-records/. Accessed 9 December, 2023
How to Access Car Accident Records. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-access-car-accident-records/.