An accident report is one of the most important elements of a personal injury claim. It proves that the accident indeed occurred, but that’s not all. Here’s what to expect from a Florida car crash report.
Date, time, and location of the accident
The report usually contains the specific date, time, and location of the accident. Without such information, the insurance company will have reasonable grounds to dismiss the claim, citing the accident didn’t occur in the first place.
Contact information of parties involved
This also includes the contact information of the other driver involved in the crash and their insurance company. Car accident attorneys use this information to contact the other driver’s insurance company to initiate the claims process.
Drivers and witness statements
The report will include statements from both parties involved in the accident. It provides a detailed account of how each driver claims the accident occurred and may also include statements suggesting admission of guilt. For this reason, it’s always advisable not to accept responsibility for the accident. Instead, only state the facts about the accident, explaining how it occurred. This section of the Florida car crash report might also contain witness accounts, if any.
The police officer who responded to the accident scene will also write their own statement, explaining how the accident occurred and their opinion on the party responsible. The officer will also note down the following:
- Damages to property or vehicles
- Injuries to those involved in the accident
- Weather conditions
- Contributing factors
- Diagram of the accident scene
- Citations issued
In serious accidents, especially those involving loss of lives, police officers might also include photographs of the accident scene.
The police report aside, it’s always advisable to take photographs of the accident, showing the extent of damage or injury. Remember that some police officers won’t take photographs of the scene, especially if the accident didn’t involve death or severe destruction of property.
Having photographic evidence, even if you were at fault, could come in handy during litigation. For instance, if the other driver gets into another accident days later then falsely claims that you cracked their windshield as well, photographic evidence could prove that you are not responsible for the cracked windscreen.
Importance of obtaining a Florida accident crash report
Let’s face it – insurance companies will do everything they can to avoid accepting responsibility for an accident. Even when they know that their client is at fault, they’ll try to come up with reasons to dismiss a claim or pay the lowest settlement possible. The truth is, that’s how insurance companies make money.
However, having an accident report leaves insurance adjusters will limited options to dispute the claim. The availability of the report, in the first place, confirms that the accident indeed occurred.
Secondly, the jury may request such a report to help make a final ruling regarding a disputed claim. This explains why it’s always advisable to call 911 right after an accident and when you’re safe to do so.
In most cases, a police report holds more weight than your statements or the other driver’s. This is because police officers are sworn to protect and uphold the law.
Why do you need a car accident attorney?
While a police report itself is a credible source of information in a personal injury lawsuit, it may not be enough to prove that the other party is liable for your damages. That’s where a car accident attorney comes in to conduct an independent investigation, interview witnesses, formulate legal strategies, provide legal advice, and negotiate with the insurance company.
A police officer can write a report but won’t negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf. That’s the job of a car accident lawyer. Working with such an attorney gives you peace of mind knowing someone is fighting for your rights as you recover from the accident.