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How Do You Get a Police Report for a Car Accident?

Feb 06, 2023

Getting into a car accident can be traumatizing and dealing with the aftermath can be frustrating. If you are injured you might need medical care and this leads to medical bills. You can have insurance claims to deal with and a car to get fixed, if possible. There are many things to consider and keep in mind. But one of the most important things is to make sure that if you are the innocent party, you can prove you were not the driver at fault. Doing this starts with getting the police report of the accident.


Why Do You Want a Police Report for Your Accident?

After a car accident, you will have property damage that has to be dealt with. Your insurance policy could require you to give the insurance company a police report. The insurance companies from all parties that were involved in the car accident will do their own investigations. But one of the places that they will start with the investigation is by looking at the police report. 

Insurance companies won’t take any one person’s word on the events of the crash. And since they weren’t around when it happened, they need reliable testimony. They can get that from the police report, so sending the report to them could save time. 

In the case of a lawsuit, some jurisdictions will allow a traffic crash report to be used during the case. Your personal injury lawyer can help you with the laws in your state and whether it is admissible on the level of your case. For example, most small claims courts will admit a police report but superior courts will not. 

Having a copy of the police report at the ready will ensure that you don’t have to struggle to get it later. 

Steps To Get a Police Report for a Car Accident

Even if no one was at fault, it still makes sense to get collision reports from the correct law enforcement agency. In many states, they are a matter of public records, but you do need to follow a number of steps to obtain a car accident report. 

Step #1: Contact Police Department That Was at the Scene

The first step is to contact the police department that sent the police officers who covered the scene. You can then inquire how to get a police report for a car accident. You should also ask how to get a police report for a car accident online since some police departments will allow you to do the next steps online. This is especially useful when you don’t live in the area where the car accident occurred. 

If you don’t know which police department to contact, the traffic agency in your area and will be able to let you know which police department would have responded to the car accident. That is helpful since many people don’t think to ask the responding officer while they are still in shock. 

Step #2: Provide Identification

You will need to provide your driver's license or some other form of identification before they will send you the police report. In states where police reports aren’t considered public record, the police report will only be given to someone who was involved in the car accident. In that case, identification will be even more critical. 

Step #3: Provide Details About Crash Report 

If you have a report number, it is easier to request the police report. But if you don’t have that number, it is still possible to get a motor vehicle accident report. It just requires that you give the police department a few more details about the essential elements of the accident. 

You will need to provide: 

  • Your name 
  • If possible, the name of the other driver 
  • Location of the accident 
  • Date of the accident 
  • Time of the accident

This will allow the police department to give you the correct police report. 

Step #4: Request Accident Report Copies

After providing all of the information that the police department needs, you will then be able to request accident report copies. You must provide your address or email address, where the police department can send you copies of the accident report. 

Step #5: Wait for the Release of the Incident Report

After completing the request for a police report, you will have to wait for it to be released. This can take a few weeks or even more depending on the magnitude of the accident including the number of cars that were involved. 

After you receive the incident report, check it to make sure that the information that it contains is correct. It can be very difficult to get it changed if there are mistakes in things such as your name. If all the information looks correct, you can then send the report in for your insurance claim. 

Hire an Experienced Lawyer for Your Vehicle Accident

It can be a traumatizing experience being involved in a vehicle accident, which is why it is good to have assistance. Knowing what to do after a motor vehicle accident can be tricky and overwhelming. One of the most crucial things to remember is to get a copy of the police report. 

You will need to contact the police department that was at the scene and provide identification and the details about your car accident. Giving as much information as possible will help the police department find the correct traffic crash reports much faster and give you the correct report. They can let you know if you have to come into the department or if you can request the report online. After providing all the information needed, you can then move on to request the report, then wait for it to be released. 

You can use this time to hire an experienced lawyer to handle your vehicle accident. The Spence Law Firm can assist you in any disputes with your insurance company, with any lawsuits, and answer any questions that you have. Contact us today for advice and to assist you in the next steps after your vehicle accident.

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