What You Need to Know About Accident Reports
When you’ve been involved in a car accident, it can be extremely overwhelming and you may not know what to do. However, there are certain steps that are really important to take. One of the most important steps you should take is to call the police. This is especially important when the accident involves significant property damage or bodily harm.
The reason that this is so important is because not only does it allow for those injured to receive the proper medical attention, but it also provides the opportunity for the police who come to the scene to write up an accident report.
Accident reports contain information about the accident as well as the responding officer’s conclusions as to what transpired and who was liable for the crash. Having this information from an unbiased third party can help should someone file a claim or a lawsuit for damages. It provides information in what is often a (s)he-said/(s)he-said situation.
Do I Need to Notify The Police Immediately?
Generally speaking, the law in Missouri requires that you provide “immediate notice” to your local police department if someone is injured or it seems as though there has been at least $500 worth of damage. This occurs in a lot of accident cases.
Once on the scene, a police officer will ensure that make sure that no one has been injured, or will ensure that if someone is, he or she receives the proper medical attention as soon as possible. He or she will also take notes and photos, inspect the vehicles for damage, measure distances, and speak to the drivers involved as well as any witnesses.
What is Listed in an Accident Report?
Once the officer collects the information necessary to properly investigate the accident, he or she will draft up a report that includes several details, such as:
- The time, date and location of the collision.
- Relevant information for the parties involved (i.e. names, numbers, and insurance information)
- Witness contact information and statements
- The damage to the vehicles involved
- Conditions at the scene of the crash (i.e. weather, roadway, lighting)
- A drawing of the accident scene
- Driver and witness statements
- Potential legal violations
- Opinion on liability and cause of the crash
What Happens if a Police Officer Can’t Arrive At the Scene of an Accident?
It’s important to keep in mind that the police department won’t always be able to provide an officer at the scene. If the department is unable to do so, you must provide and submit a written report to the department within five days of the accident. You will want to contact the police department in order to learn what it is that you should include in your report.
The Goss Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident due to a drunk driver, The Goss Law Firm can help. To learn more or to schedule a FREE consultation, call the Kansas City Lawyers at the Goss Law Firm at 816-527-8658 today!