Proving Fault: Car Accidents and Police Reports

By Mark T. Flickinger, JD on February 19, 2019

Car accident reportJust about any time a car accident takes place, a police officer will file a report. Obtaining a copy of this report may help show that the other party is responsible.

Car accidents can take a major toll on your health and finances, so it is essential that you hire an auto accident attorney that can investigate your accident and ensure you are treated fairly. At Flickinger, Sutterfield & Boulton in Provo, UT, we can review your car accident case and determine if you should pursue legal action. Here, we discuss how a car accident police report can shed light on the circumstances of the collision and show who was at-fault.

An Overview of Car Accident Police Reports

One key question must be answered after any car accident: who was at fault? The answer to this question will determine which party’s insurance will cover the victim’s damages.

When a police officer investigates the scene of an accident, he or she will collect certain details about the accident for inclusion in a police report. Those details may include:

 

  • Basic facts about the crash, such as where and when the accident happened and what the weather, lighting, and road conditions were at the time
  • Personal information for all involved parties, including names, addresses, and insurance information
  • Injury details including whether the injury required medical treatment or hospitalization
  • Statements from the drivers and passengers involved in the accident
  • Witness statements from anyone who saw what took place
  • A visual representation of the accident
  • Information about vehicle damage such as where the damage is located and how bad it is
  • Violations or citations, if there are any
  • An opinion on who is at fault for the accident

How a Police Report Can Be Used to Help Establish Fault

While the level of detail in police reports varies, the information they contain is critical to secure. An officer may state his or her opinion on who is at fault for the accident.

It is important to distinguish between opinion and fact. While the majority of the report is factual, such as the date, time, and location, the opinion of the officer is subjective.

For that reason, mentions of broken laws or citations may prove more valuable in establishing fault in a car accident.

How to Obtain a Police Report

There are two ways to go about obtaining a police report after a car accident:

  • You can contact your insurance company. Assuming they have already requested the report, your insurance company will provide you a free copy.
  • You can contact law enforcement to obtain a paid copy of the report. After the accident, the responding officer will give you a receipt and report number to look up.

An auto accident lawyer at Flickinger, Sutterfield & Boulton can obtain and review the police report, as well as physical evidence and additional documentation to build your case.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

To learn more about car accidents and police reports, contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer at Flickinger, Sutterfield & Boulton. Call us today at (801) 370-0505 to learn more.

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