Immediately following an accident you are legally obligated to contact the police. While some people may want to leave the police out of the situation for personal reasons, you can get in trouble if you follow through with this practice and are caught. When the police arrive on the scene, they will take a detailed report of what you say happened, what the other driver claims happened, and any other eyewitness accounts.
How Are Police Reports Used?
Once a police report has been filed, all evidence is usually turned over to the insurance companies to battle it out. The police report often contains who is at fault and why, the weather conditions and road conditions, and the condition of the vehicles and drivers after the accident. The date and time are also included, as well as a diagram of the site of the accident.
Police reports are usually used when two insurance companies are debating which driver insurance company will pay for what. If the accident goes to trial, which rarely happens, the report may be used as evidence. After an accident your insurance company will probably contact you to clarify details. Occasionally a police report may contain errors and once your insurance company contacts you, you can try to rectify any misinformation.
If you want a copy of the report, you or your attorney should check with the issuing police department. In the case that the accident goes to trial, the report may not be available for you to view. Should the report not be accessible, it is not necessarily required for you to have a copy of the report if you need to file an insurance claim that has not been filed already. Accidents that occur on private property, such as university grounds, may not have official police reports filed and instead are handled by campus security.