You’re driving along on a nice sunny day enjoying the radio on your way to work when suddenly you hear the loud screeching noise of tires sliding on pavement. Without time to react, you brace for impact as you realize you’re about to be hit. Seconds later you hear the metal-on-metal crunch of someone slamming into the back of your car because they were texting and driving. In the course of the impact, your head whips forward and back. Getting out of the car, you realize that your neck hurts and you can’t look to the right. What do you do?
For many people in this situation, they would exchange personal and insurance information and be on their way. For some, they might recognize the need for a police report to document the accident. Regardless of the seriousness of the accident, you should always file a police report following an accident. The police report provides significant value in recovering costs associated with the accident as it officially records the occurrence of the accident and the accident’s specifics. Costs from the accident can be a result of damage to your car or personal injury to yourself.
In the case of damage to your car, simple admission by the person who hit you might be sufficient to get your money from them or their insurance. However, they may deny that the accident happened at which point you have to prove that the accident happened, and that it happened as you claim. This is where the police report comes in. If the person who hit you attempts to deny what happened, you can present the police report as evidence that the accident occurred.
Additionally, while your car may not appear to have any major damage, that might not be the reality. Your car might seem to work perfectly well following the accident, when in actuality it sustained serious damage that won’t manifest itself for several weeks or months. In this situation, you would again have to prove that the accident happened. Without the police report, you may have significant difficulty in proving the accident occurred.
Similarly, the police report proves the accident happened if you’ve suffered personal injury. In the above scenario where a person has been rear-ended and now has neck pain, providing the police report that indicates the rear-end collision occurred will provide legal evidence to support your claim. Additionally, as with the car, your personal injury might not manifest for a period of time after the accident. Again, the police report can help to validate your claim to lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages which you may be legally entitled to.
Thus, if you’ve been involved in an accident, make sure to file a police report. To file a police report, call the police after the accident and a police officer will ask you questions and record your answers. After you’ve given the information to the officer, you can request a copy of the police report.
Having a police report on file can be the difference between recovering or not recovering what you’re legally entitled to.