The Importance of Police Reports in an Accident
Tennessee law requires you to report a car accident to the state if the crash resulted in injuries, death, or property damage over $1,500. While you have 20 days to report the accident, it is always wise to call 911 from the scene of the crash to report what happened. Not only will this ensure that everyone receives necessary medical attention right away, but it should also result in the police arriving at the scene to make a police report.
Police reports are important after car accidents for several reasons. If you are an accident victim who later needs to seek compensation from the responsible party, a police report can often help your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Information in Police Reports
Part of the job of law enforcement officers – whether they are local police, state police, or highway patrol – is to investigate what happened and create a report documenting the scene following an accident. While each report is unique, they can contain information that includes:
- The time, date, and location of the crash
- Names and contact information of all motorists involved in the accident
- Names and contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash and stopped to help
- Whether anyone was injured, whether they needed emergency transportation, which hospitals they went to, and possibly their condition
- The types of vehicles involved, and any property damage sustained by the vehicles
- A diagram of the scene following the accident, including intersections, where the vehicles ended up, skid marks, debris, traffic signals, and more
- The road and weather conditions at the time of the accident
In addition to the above basic facts regarding the crash, police officers might also include statements taken from people involved or witnesses. They can include whether someone violated the law and whether the police issued a citation or made an arrest. While a police report is not considered to be absolute evidence of what happened in an accident, it can help establish a baseline of what happened and can be persuasive in an injury claim.
Protect Your Rights
What can you do to protect your rights after a car accident? First, call 911 to ensure the police arrive. If you can remain on the scene, give a clear statement of what happened as you remember it. Later, you or your attorney should request a copy of the report to ensure your statement is accurate. If it is not, you can request to amend the report.
Police reports can also provide important information about witnesses so you can contact them if you did not personally obtain their information at the scene. All in all, this is an important document to have as part of your injury case.
Contact a Nashville Personal Injury Lawyer about Your Rights Today
At Bednarz Law, we know how to use police reports to help with your car accident claim. If you need legal assistance following an injury, contact us online or call our Nashville office at 615-256-0100 for a free consultation with a Nashville personal injury attorney.