It may seems like you might not need a police report, especially if the other person told you they're sorry and gave you their insurance information. If this happens, you may ask yourself:
Do I Have To File A Police Report For A Car Accident In California?
Yes. I advise you to always make a police report.
- If you've been involved in an automobile accident in which you were hurt as a result of negligence on the part of another driver, it's a good idea to let the police know about it.
- You can do this by contacting the police department directly, or by dialing 911 and mentioning to emergency personnel that you've been hurt in an accident.
- While 911 telephone dispatchers do not automatically notify law enforcement about reports of automobile accidents in every single situation, they will generally take such action where the 911 caller specifically mentions that one or more persons has been injured as a result of the accident.
Why Do I Have To Get The Police Involved With My Accident?
From a litigation perspective, the answer is quite clear. The responding officer will use the information he gathers at the accident scene to fill out an official document known as a police report (sometimes referred to as an “accident report”).
The police report is a crucial tool relied upon by plaintiff's lawyers to prove a defendant was legally responsible for an accident and the resulting injuries to their client. The police report will contain valuable information such as:
- the date, time, and exact location of the accident
- the identities of the parties involved
- detailed information regarding all vehicles involved in the collision (including license plate, year, make, model, color, sedan/SUV/coupe, etc.)
- information as to whether parts of any vehicle were malfunctioning or defective prior to the accident
- a summary of any and all injuries claimed to have been sustained,
- a description of any alleged property damage, weather and road conditions at the time of the incident,
- names and/or contact information for any witnesses (as well as any statements those witnesses may have provided at the scene),
- and a subjective account from the officer himself detailing what appears to have transpired and why/how it happened (including who may have been at fault).
Do I Have Be Sure That I Want To Make A Claim Before I Make A Police Report?
Even if it is unclear immediately after the accident whether you suffered injuries that are serious enough to warrant a lawsuit, your best bet is to request that the police respond to the scene anyway so that the responding officer ends up generating a police report.
If it turns out that your injuries something about which you decide to make a claim, the police report might go a long way towards corroborating your claims during the discovery phase of your case. And even if it turns out that you are not seriously hurt, the report may still come in handy (for instance in the event that the insurance company tries to pin the blame on you).
Simply put, the mere existence of an official police report concerning your auto accident could give you peace of mind because it reduces the likelihood of you being blamed after the date of the accident for a car wreck that was someone else's fault.
What Should I Do After I Make A Police Report?
Here are some tips to help you, starting right from the accident scene. After the police report, it's a good idea to see a doctor. For more tips, see what you need to know about insurance adjusters and insurance tactics that can hurt you. Even if you were partially to blame for your accident, you might still be able to make a claim and file a lawsuit.
Can A Lawyer Help Me If I Even If I Did Not Make A Police Report?
My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner. I am the owner and attorney of San José personal injury law office Gardner Law. Although it is better if you have a police report, even if you don't have a police report, I still want to help you. You should talk to an attorney before you do anything besides: calling 911 and seek medical care.
My name is Renée Yvonne Gardner. I am the attorney at Gardner Law. I speak Spanish - hablo español. I have experience with personal injury and wrongful death accident. If you had an accident or got bitten by a dog, reach out to me at (408) 214-5555 or here: message me here.
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