The Importance of Filing a Report to Help You with Your Insurance
A car accident can be a difficult situation to handle. In addition to dealing with any damage or injury to your car, yourself, and any passengers, it can be stressful to sort through the legalities and insurance details.
If you or a loved one is involved in a car accident, getting a police report is an important step in the aftermath of the incident. This can help you consolidate all the relevant details in one place and provide you with an official report of what happened. For personal injury victims, this can help to strengthen your case in some instances, such as with the insurance company. However, when it comes to official court involvement, your report may be inadmissible.
This is because, in the state of Florida, a police report is typically considered hearsay. That means that it is considered an out-of-court statement that cannot be proven true. There are some exceptions to this rule, but it is the case with most auto accidents.
Using a Police Report After a Car Accident
There are still plenty of important reasons why you should file a police report, however. For starters, in Florida, a police report is required after any accident that results in $500 in property damage to either or both vehicles, any bodily or fatal injuries, complaints of pain or discomfort, or the towing of one of the cars involved. Since this covers all but very minor incidents, a police report is typically made at the scene of the crime by the responding police officers. However, in the event that the police aren’t called or drive past the scene, the involved parties have up to 10 days to file the report.
If you or your passengers were injured during the car accident or your vehicle sustained damages, a police report can serve as documentation of that. In many cases, pain and injuries may not present themselves for a few days, so it can be very helpful to have a record of your accident to help support the claim that any injuries were a direct cause of it.
The police report will have factual information, such as the time, date, and location of the crash, as well as information like the officer’s account of what occurred and any statements from witnesses. Your lawyer and an insurance agent can review this information to help present a case for you. If the accident was caused by the actions of another party, your attorney may be able to use your police report to prove this to ensure a settlement.
Information to Look For in a Police Report
As we mentioned, a police report will have a combination of factual information as opinionated accounts of what happened, usually recorded by the responding officer. The police are well-versed in auto accident assessment practices and should be able to correctly and successfully record all the vital information from the accident. This could potentially lead to your attorney discovering more evidence that can further support your claim. Be sure to review the record to ensure all the details are correct. Aside from the basics, like time, date, and location, your accident report should include some or all of the following info:
- Contact information for the driver, their insurance company, and any witnesses. This is necessary to file a claim with the insurance company of the other vehicle. It is also recommended that you try to obtain any contact info personally, in case you need to back up your version of events.
- A statement from the driver(s), which is typically recorded by the officer. This is where all parties explain what happened from their point of view.
- A narrative of the events will also be recording, as well as the officer’s perspective and conclusions on what occurred and the events leading up to the accident.
- Injuries, pain, or any type of discomfort caused by the car accident will be immediately recorded by the police. If medical attention is required, it’s important to contact paramedics as soon as possible.
- Vehicle damage will also be assessed and recorded to ensure that all relevant cosmetic and mechanical issues are noted. If any property was damaged, they should observe and report that as well.
- Pictures, videos, or diagrams of the accident may also be included in the report, depending on the severity. It’s also recommended to take as many pictures as you can of the car, the scene, and any relevant injuries to ensure that you have proof. Police officers may not always do so.
- If weather and road conditions were a factor, the police officer may also make a note of that in the report.
- Tickets or citations that the officer issued will also be recorded in the car accident. This can help to provide evidence of negligence or fault.
Get Help From a South Florida Accident Attorney
At the DRG Law Firm, we work hard to help patients receive the compensation they deserve. We understand that handling the legal aspects of a car accident can be very difficult, especially if you are struggling with pain or injury from the incident. Our attorneys will review your case carefully to find any vital information that can help you, and we offer free injury claim evaluations to residents who are looking for legal assistance. Call us today at 888-413-8353.