If you or a loved one experienced a vehicle collision, you might wonder, “Can I get a police report online?” While you can get a police accident report online in most states, the exact process may vary from one state to another. Therefore, contact the police department responsible for the accident report to determine how to obtain the police report, which may be online, in person, or by mail.
A police report could be vital for proving your insurance claim or lawsuit if another party caused the crash. However, if you suffered severe injuries and significant financial damages, consider speaking to a car accident attorney who could help to maximize your settlement.
Don’t struggle alone with a car accident claim. Morgan & Morgan is here to help. Our car accident lawyers fight for the rights of injured car accident victims every day. Contact us for a free case review to discover how we could help.
Why You Might Need a Police Report
A police accident report can be critical, especially if you plan to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver or other party that caused your crash and injuries. A report typically contains the officer’s opinion of who is at fault for the collision, which can be crucial evidence helping to prove your claim.
What Is a Police Accident Report?
Law enforcement typically arrives at the crash scene when you dial 911. An officer will make an official police report including the details of all drivers involved, witness statements, and other critical information regarding the accident, such as:
- An opinion as to who or what caused the collision
- A drawing of the accident and the position of the vehicles
- Statements from those involved in the crash
How to Get Your Police Report
The police officer at the crash scene should have provided you with an incident report document containing an identification number. You will need this number when collecting your report. If you did not receive the paperwork with the identification number, you should still be able to get your report by providing your name and address and the date, time, and location of the crash.
There can be various ways to get a police accident report. You can either obtain an online report, mail your request to the local law enforcement office, or visit the office in person. There is usually a fee, which can be around $10-25. However, if an insurance company is already investigating your claim, the adjuster could also provide you with the report. If an attorney represents you, they may be able to get you a copy.
Receiving an Accident Report Could Take Weeks
It is important to note that the accident report will not be ready immediately as it takes a while to be processed. It usually takes a few weeks for the investigating law enforcement officer to complete and release the report. Moreover, if someone died in the accident, it could take months before the report will be available.
The Weight of Police Reports as Evidence
A police report can be helpful if you have to file an insurance claim or lawsuit after a car accident. However, do not assume that the report will guarantee an insurance settlement or make or break your legal case. The insurer will conduct its own investigation into the car crash and may or may not come to the same conclusions as the police officer who attended the crash scene.
Moreover, when your case goes to trial, the police report may not carry much weight, as it could count as “hearsay” evidence, which generally applies to statements made out of court. Courts recognize that most police reports are drafted hurriedly at the accident scene with little investigation. Therefore, police reports may not be admitted as evidence, particularly in cases when the officer is available to testify in person.
However, whether an accident report is admissible will depend on the nature of your case. While you may be able to use some or all of the police report as evidence in court, it is best not to rely on it and ensure that you have a skilled lawyer in your corner who can present your case powerfully.
A Police Report Does Not Always Prove Who Is at Fault
As we have seen, a police report may not hold much weight in court proceedings or insurance claims. However, the information in a report can influence the outcome of your legal case. If the police report contains mistakes, jeopardizes your case, or provides the other side with ammunition to fight your claim, get an attorney on your side to protect your rights. A car accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan could advocate for you and help you receive a fair settlement.
How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Proving a car accident claim, especially if you are still recovering from your injuries, can be exhausting and complicated. However, our car accident lawyers can navigate the legal process for you and fight for justice and compensation on your behalf while you are healing. Ways in which Morgan & Morgan can help include:
Proving Your Claim
We have the resources and expertise to thoroughly investigate your crash together with professional investigators. Our attorneys can work on all legal aspects of your claim, including proving that another caused your crash and losses. We can gather the necessary evidence, such as:
- Police accident report
- Traffic camera footage
- Witness statements
- Crash investigators’ findings
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
Even a favorable police report cannot guarantee the insurance settlement you need to pay your bills. Insurers are primarily concerned with their best interests and usually launch their own investigation, not least to determine whether they can get out of their obligations and deny or reduce your settlement. A determined car accident lawyer from Morgan & Morgan can level the playing field and negotiate hard for what you deserve.
Take Your Case to Trial
Although most car accident claims settle out of court, insurers will not budge in some cases. Unlike other law firms, who may shy away from going to trial and instead accept an insurer’s last best offer, our attorneys never settle for less. We want you to receive the total value of your car accident claim so you can put your life back together after a significant injury.