If you were involved in a car accident, it is helpful and sometimes necessary to call law enforcement to the accident scene. Under Indiana law, accidents that result in injury, death, or entrapment of another person must be reported to the police at the time of the accident.
This means that if the accident was minor, with little to no damage to property and no injuries, the law does not require an accident report. However, reporting the accident to the police is crucial if you want to pursue compensation through a personal injury claim.
Not all injuries are apparent at the scene of the accident. Some can develop within hours or days afterward. For this reason, it is recommended that law enforcement is called and an accident report filed. These police reports are written by the attending officer, who will have inspected the vehicles involved in the accident and gathered information at the scene.
If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you might be entitled to compensation. However, the at-fault party’s insurance company doesn’t usually offer a fair settlement at first. The process of obtaining compensation can be complex and challenging. Contact us today if you have questions about your case.
What Is in an Accident Report and Why It’s Important
One of the factors important in negotiations with the insurance company or in litigating your case in court is a copy of the police accident report. At the scene of the accident, law enforcement will record specific information on a police report. This is a summary of the investigation the officer conducts on-site. A police report will include:
- The approximate time, date, and location of the collision
- Identifying information about everyone involved in the accident. This includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information
- Information to identify witnesses who saw the accident
- Statements from the drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- A description of damage to the vehicles
- A diagram of the accident
- A record of any citations or violations that were issued
- Information about the weather, visibility, and roadway obstacles at the scene
- Information about both drivers and whether distraction or impairment was a contributing factor
- How quickly the vehicles were traveling
- A record of any maneuvers the drivers took to avoid the accident
- Whether any of the vehicles were poorly maintained
Find more information about reading an accident report, including a page by page summary of what you can expect to find in an Indiana Accident report here.
It is crucial that you check the police report after it was filed to ensure that all the information is accurate. A police report is used by insurance adjusters and attorneys as a record of the accident. The police officer will also give an indication of their interpretation of who was at fault.
However, there are portions of a police report that will be fact and others that are opinion. For example, the date, vehicles involved, and the location of the collision are facts. Who was at fault is the opinion of the attending law enforcement officer.
Police reports can be used during an insurance settlement negotiation but may not meet the rules of evidence to be admitted in court. However, the attending law officer can testify, and they will often use the police report from the accident during their testimony. This is why it is crucial that you get a copy of the report and ensure that all aspects of the report are accurate.
How to Request a Police Report in Indiana
After a car accident, the law enforcement officer who comes to make a report may be from Marion County, one of the surrounding counties, or from the state police. To get a copy of the report, you must submit a request to the right department.
Both Marion County and the State Police Department allow you to request a car accident report online at BuyCrash.com. If an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer attended your accident, you can visit their office and request a report for $12.
Whether you request a report online or in person, you must have the date, time, and location of the accident. It also helps to have the investigating officer’s name.
Contact Hankey Marks & Crider Today for a Free Consultation
If you are involved in a car accident that was not your fault, contact an Indianapolis car accident attorney from Hankey Marks & Crider today. We understand that money cannot make up for the injury and property loss that you might have suffered. However, it can help pay for your medical expenses and relieve the financial burden that comes after a significant injury.
Our legal team is committed to providing you with the best possible representation and fighting for your rights, whether through negotiating with the insurance company or litigating your case in court. Call our office today at (317) 634-8565 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.