Can a Police Report Help Substantiate Your Personal Injury Claim?


America is among the countries with the best emergency response system. Barely will an accident occur, and you don’t have an ambulance and law enforcement officers to come to the scene if notified.

In most cases, the focus is on the bigger picture, helping the injured. However, having the police document the accident is also critical if you will be filling a claim, the police report.

This guide takes an in-depth look into police reports from what they are, how to get one, and their significance in a personal injury claim, so keep reading to learn more.

What Is a Police Report?

A police report is a report created by the police containing a summary of the details of an accident. In most cases, the police will create the report based on the information they gather at the scene. However, there are instances where they may create it from the information provided by the persons involved in an incident when they make a report at the local police station.

Some states require motorists involved in accidents that result in substantial damage to file a police report. For example, in New York City, motorists must file a report with the police if an accident results in bodily injury or property damage exceeding $1,000.

“A police report is easily challenged as hearsay by the opposing side. However, they can also use a lack of it to invalidate a claim, so it is important to have it whether it is a requirement or not,” says attorney Charles Boyk.

How Is It Helpful?

Typically, a police report is a condensed version of details about an accident and will contain information such as:

  • The date, time, and specific location of the accident
  • The names of the parties involved in the accident, including their contact information and insurance details
  • Vehicle details such as type of vehicle, registration plates
  • A description of what transpired based on evidence obtained at the scene and witness accounts
  • Names of witnesses
  • The extent of injuries and intervention offered to them, for example, whether or not they received aid at the scene or were transported to a hospital

Going by the details, a police report will help you in several ways besides meeting the legal requirement. First, it helps put you and the defendant at the accident scene, so there is no way the defendant can claim it never happened. Secondly, it helps make tracking witnesses that could help in your case quite straightforward. Finally, it helps with proving basic information that helps in determining fault.

When to File a Police Report

In most cases, you will not need to file a police report for an accident because the police rarely fail to appear at an accident scene. So all you will need to do is provide a detailed account of the ancient when they did.

They may not show up if no one calls. So, ensure you call 911 even when unsure about the extent of your injuries. If, for any reason, they do not show up, ensure you go to a police station in person to file the report as soon as you have your health taken care of.

Ideally, file a report writing 24 hours after the accident. You could still file one after the lapse of 24 hours, but it can hinder your chances of success in your claim. but your lawyer can help you navigate such a situation if you have a valid reason for your delay to ensure it doesn’t hurt your case.

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