Too often, we work with clients who were involved in a car accident and, for whatever reason, don’t believe that they need a police report. The truth is that anytime you’re in a car accident, you should report it to the police right away. You should ask that an officer is sent to the scene. When the officer gets there, you should ask that they complete a Traffic Collision Report. Not doing so can make any personal injury claim more difficult to prove.
What exactly is a Traffic Collision Report?
You likely think of it as a police report. In short, it’s a summary of all the details about a car accident. It has the facts and also includes the officer’s opinion. It will include details about all the parties involved in the accident and any witnesses to said accident. In most cases, they are reliable and accurate because they’re completed shortly after the accident occurs.
What exactly is included in this report?
It may vary depending on the type of accident you were involved in. However, generally speaking, you can expect that the date, time, and location of the accident, the weather at the time and any traffic conditions will be included. Additionally, any relevant road conditions, statements for witnesses who saw the accident, information on all parties involved in the accident (including their names, contact info, insurance info, and vehicle info), and information about the damage to property.
The report will also likely include diagrams and / or photographs, information on any law violations, the officer’s initial determination of fault, and any other relevant info. There may also be information on specific injuries sustained during the accident.
Will the Traffic Collision Report be used in court?
No, it’s not admissible in court because they are considered hearsay. However, they are extremely helpful for personal injury attorneys because they offer a lot of information. At the very least, it gives us an idea of what happened, who was involved, and who saw it. Some detailed police reports can literally save weeks of work. The bottom line is that the more information we have, the better we can make your case.
How will an attorney use the information in a police report?
This depends largely on what’s included but you can expect that a fully filled out report would help us determine who was at fault, determine any third parties who may be partially liable, find and talk to witnesses, figure out what to research, and determine what type of experts may be helpful to our cause. In the event that we want to settle out of court, a damning police report can be excellent leverage against an insurance company.
Once again, the bottom line is that the more information you can give to Law Offices of Michael A. Kahn, the better prepared we will be. We recommend that if you’re in a car accident with at least $500 worth of damage and / or any injury – no matter how minor it may seem – that you contact the police for a Traffic Collison Report. You can also reach us for a free consultation at (310) 209-1600.