If you’ve been involved in a car crash and have thoughts of filing a personal injury lawsuit, an important document you’ll want to obtain is the official police accident report. Although you can file a claim against a driver without one, it’s much easier to prove negligence and injury with this piece of paper. In this article, we’ll cover what a police report is and how it can help your Traffic Accident Cases.
Tar Heel State residents who need legal guidance after a car crash can contact a Raleigh, North Carolina, car accident lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you gather the best evidence to support your claim to ensure you receive the best settlement and compensation.
What Is a Police Accident Report?
Most of the time, when the police arrive at a North Carolina traffic accident, they collect information that will eventually become what’s commonly called a “police report” or an “accident report.” Also known as a DMV-349, it will become accessible as an official public record. Police reports are usually available within two weeks of the accident. This document is vital evidence in a car accident case since it contains a lot of information about the accident.
What Types of Information Does a Police Accident Report Contain?
Although a police accident report contains much information, some may only partially be correct. It should be noted that the responding officer to the accident scene will formulate an opinion on how the accident was caused, but their main goal is to document and report the facts as they see them. The information on an accident report should contain the following to assist in traffic accident cases:
- The date and time of the accident
- Names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers for all drivers involved
- Year, make, model, and VIN for all vehicles involved in the accident
- If any drug or alcohol tests were performed
- Insurance information for all vehicles in the accident
- Full names and contact information for any passengers and where they were seated
- Information and any injuries and where they went for immediate medical treatment
- The police officer’s opinion of how the accident occurred
- A diagram of how the police officer believes the accident happened
- A description of road conditions and the weather at the time of the incident
- Measurements of skid marks, if any
- Evidence of car contact like paint transfer, scratches, or obvious collision points
- The names and contact information of any eyewitnesses
- A brief statement of what happened by all drivers involved in the crash
How Does a Police Accident Report Help a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
First and foremost, an accident report is irrefutable proof that a car accident did occur. Unfortunately, the information on it is often inaccurate since some of its information is the police officer’s opinion on what caused the crash. It’s always to the plaintiff’s benefit if it’s clear that the other driver is at fault, but even if not, the document is an essential piece of evidence to prove negligence and, to a lesser degree, injury.
For example, if the report states that the other vehicle’s driver failed a field sobriety test, this may be all the evidence necessary to prove negligence. The statements of eyewitnesses, if any, can help prove that the other driver was at fault. Their contact information would be included in the accident report, and your lawyer can contact them for more information or to have them formally deposed.
If there are inaccuracies in the report, a skilled personal injury attorney can address them by utilizing eyewitness statements, accident scene reconstructionists, any available traffic light cameras, or surveillance camera video.
The Importance of Police Reports in Car Accident Cases: Final Words
In North Carolina, it’s the plaintiff’s burden of proving negligence and injury in a personal injury car accident case. Fortunately for most victims, a police accident report can help to establish these things. This important document contains a lot of valuable information that can be used as evidence. Even if the information on the report isn’t accurate, a good lawyer can use other resources to prove this.
Traffic Accident Cases
If you’ve been injured in a car wreck that was of no fault of your own, consult with a personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and determine the best course of action that will produce the best results. Most offer a free consultation and will tackle your case without an upfront payment. Only attempt to seek compensation with a car accident lawyer on your side.