How to Get a Car Accident Police Report
UPDATED: June 19, 2018
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If you have been involved in a car accident, you have several things that you will need do after the crash in order to prepare a car insurance claim. One of the most important things that is easy to overlook is finding a copy of the car accident police report filled out by the responding officer. The police officer’s car accident report can be critical to obtaining the insurance coverage you need, and should be part of every car accident claim.
TIP: A car accident insurance claim without a police report will be incomplete and increase the risk of claim denial or a low settlement offer. You need to include all possible information about your crash in order to receive the full value of your insurance claim.
How to Find a Car Accident Police Report
Finding a car accident police report is a relatively simple process that can be accomplished by following a few steps:
- Call the number listed on the business card of the officer who responded to your accident and compiled the report. If you did not get a business card, call the police station and ask for the officer who you worked with.
- When you speak to the officer responsible for your car accident report, explain to him who you are and give some details of the crash to help him remember. If you leave a message, give a brief reason why you are calling, your name, and a number where you can be reached.
- If the officer is unable to help you, you can either speak to a receptionist with the police department or call your local courthouse and ask for a clerk. Once you determine what department has your car accident police report on file, you may need to go to the police station or the courthouse to get a copy. You may need to pay a fee, so bring some cash with you.
- If you are unable to get the police accident report from either the courthouse or the police department, call your insurance company and the insurance company for the other driver to see if either insurer has it. If so, ask for them to mail a copy to you.
- You may also be able to find your police report at your local DMV office. Some DMV offices provide the car accident police report after it has been submitted to them by the responding officer. Contact your local DMV for more information
You may need to be patient and persistent in your search for the police accident report, however, you should keep at it until you are able to get a copy. The police accident report is a critical element to your insurance claim, and you will need to review it before taking action to recover insurance money.
What to Do with the Police Accident Report
Once you have a copy of the police report, you will need to review it and find out what the official version of events is. It is likely the insurance company or the other driver will have a copy of the report – particularly for high value claims – so you should be prepared to use the report to support your version of events, or, if the car accident police report wrongly indicates you were at fault, to refute the officer's assessment of your accident.
If you need assistance reviewing the report, or you believe the police officer’s version of events does not accurately reflect the car accident, you can reach out to a car accident attorney for assistance. Car insurance lawyers typically offer free consultations, and can help you get the insurance coverage you deserve after an accident.