I was in a car wreck, do I need to file a police report? YES!
One of the most important things you can do after a car accident is file a police report. If you were involved in a serious accident where traffic was impeded or medical assistance needed, police and first responders will likely be dispatched to the scene. Typically, the police will file a report without you having to ask.
Even minor fender benders should be reported because back and neck pain or even internal injuries can flare up days after the incident. A police report or motor vehicle accident report shows a record of what happened and that law enforcement was involved with your accident.
What the Police Want to Know
Immediately after an accident, if you are able, call the police and wait in a safe location. When speaking with the police when they arrive, simply state the facts of what happened. Try to remain calm as accidents often cause your adrenaline to race. The police should question the drivers, occupants, and any available witnesses. They will want at the bare minimum the following:
• How did the accident happen?
• How many people were in your car?
• What is your name and insurance information?
• Is anyone injured?
• Were there any witnesses to the accident?
• How badly are the injuries to those involved?
Filing a Report at the Police Station
If a report wasn’t made on the scene, you can file a report at your local police station. It’s useful if you have the other driver’s contact information, insurance information, and license plate number. Also, it's helpful if you have photos of the accident scene and the vehicles.
Amending a Police Report
Once you receive a copy of the police report, you should review it for errors. If you have a dispute with the cause of the accident, the intersection, how the accident happened, or any of the other details on the report, you should contact the agency that filled out the report to ask to make amendments. Often this is as simple as going to the police station in person and filing an addendum or amendment. This can be particularly helpful to you later if there are dispute as to any of the underlying facts of the accident.
How Does a Police Report Help You?
You may not notice you are injured or that your car is damaged due to the shock and stress stemming from the accident. Many injuries do not come to the surface until your bodies adrenaline wears down - injuries can take days to manifest sometimes. Having the police report preserves information regarding the accident and gives you the other person’s contact information.
A police report can assist you should you need to make a claim for property damage or bodily injury. They can help prevent the “he said, she said” scenario of who caused an accident. The police report assists you and your attorney to establish your case.