The Importance of Getting a Police Report After an Accident
Statistics show there are over six million automobile accidents a year and while that is a staggering number of collisions, the majority of them result only in property damage. Accidents with personal injury including permanent disability and even death occurred in approximately half of those six million collisions. While these numbers are very disturbing, you might assume it is only necessary to involve the police if the accident is serious enough to cause physical injury; this is a misconception. It is important to keep in mind no matter how minor the accident, the police need to be contacted and a report filed.
If the accident occurred in an area with an overtaxed police force or limited sheriff’s department you and the other party might just agree to exchange information and not wait for an officer to arrive. While in theory this seems like a practical idea, it’s important to remember that things and people aren’t always as they appear. For example, at the time, both parties may agree that the property damage was minor and there were no physical injuries to either party. Then a few days later you receive a call from your insurance agent telling you the other party is now claiming major property damage and debilitating personal injury. Taking the time to involve the authorities and filing a police report when the accident occurred could possibly have kept the other party from changing their story. A police report is a factual written record taken by an impartial party trained in reporting accurate information. Having this report in hand will provide protection in case of legal claims levied against you by the other party.
Often no matter how minor an accident, most people are shaken up. They’re concerned about the damage to their vehicle and how the accident is going to affect both their insurance and driving record. Then for many people there are even more immediate concerns such as being late for work or getting their child to school or the doctor. When this type of agitation occurs it’s often hard to remember all the pertinent details surrounding the crash. You might see nothing more serious than a crumpled fender but then the next day upon closer inspection you discover additional damage. By contacting the police immediately after the accident, the additional damage more than likely would have been discovered and noted.
Also accidents do frequently occur without a clear picture of who was at fault. Again, a professional officer of the law will have the training and expertise to ask the right questions, interview potential witnesses and determine which party or possibly if both parties caused the crash. After being interviewed by the officer you will be given a copy of his accident report. A copy will need to go to your insurance agent and one should be kept for your records. Having this report available is very important if things take a turn for the worse and it becomes necessary to involve an attorney. If you have concerns and feel you might be best served by retaining the services of an experienced professional, Dan Pruitt Law Firm is here to help. Please contact our office today to schedule your complementary consultation.
Dan Pruitt is a Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from University of Georgia, and has been practicing law for 25 years. Dan Pruitt believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.