After a car accident, police will arrive at the scene and complete a report. This is true for both minor accidents and accidents which cause excessive damage or severe injury. A police report can include details about the incident, who it involved, injuries sustained, and any citations written as a result. Documenting this information in an official report can come in handy for many reasons. For example, if you are pursuing a personal injury claim for damages, it is very important to get a police report after your auto accident. Below, our New Jersey auto accident attorneys explain why it is important to get this report, how to request the report and how long it takes to obtain.
Why Do I Need a Police Report After an Accident?
A police report is an official document completed by the investigating officer of an accident. This officer will compile certain details in a standardized way to make this information more accessible. This information will include:
- Date/time/location of the accident
- Description of weather, lighting and road conditions
- Persons involved in the accident and their contact information
- Eye witnesses and their contact information
- Vehicles involved, damage inflicted and license plate numbers
- Statements from both parties and any eyewitnesses
- A fault determination made by the investigating officer
- Confirm/identify auto insurance companies
When pursuing a civil claim, the above information is important. You can provide the official report as support for your insurance claim or legal claim. Further, your attorney will use this information to negotiate a settlement agreement on your behalf. An official police report may give you the leverage you need to settle satisfactorily out of court.
How Can I Get My Car Accident Police Report?
There are a few ways to get a police report after an accident. You can visit the police station in person and request a copy there. You can also order a copy of your report online. Third-party websites such as www.crashdocs.org provide yet another option for obtaining a copy of your police report. If you need help locating your report, you can also ask your New Jersey auto accident attorney for help. With a few pieces of information, they will be able to locate and order your police report on your behalf.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Police Report?
The time it takes to get a police report will vary depending on a few factors. The most important thing to consider is processing time. For example, the investigating officer will need time to complete a draft of their report. Then, they will submit it for approval in meeting the reporting agency’s standard guidelines. It is important to keep in mind that an agency’s workload may affect the time it takes to complete this part of the process. Holidays and weekends usually involve an influx of cases, which may cause a bit of a backlog.
At the same time, an initial draft may prompt further investigation. Typically, an investigation will take longer if the accident involved serious injury or criminal behavior. Since a police report is only made available upon completion of the initial investigation, a continued investigation will cause a delay. In this situation, consult with a New Jersey auto accident attorney. They may be able to obtain important accident information even before the investigation concludes.
What Happens if I Disagree With the Information in the Police Report?
Many times you may finally receive a police report only to find that the responding officer left out an important fact or failed to issue the at fault driver a ticket. In those instances, you have the ability to both amend the police report and issue a civilian citation to the other party or parties. Typically, amendments and civilian citations must be issued within thirty (30) days from the date of the accident. An experienced car accident attorney can help you with this process to ensure the report is accurate and the proper parties received citations.
Need Help Finding Your Police Report? Contact a New Jersey Auto Accident Attorney for Help
After an accident, you likely have a lot on your plate. A decommissioned vehicle or serious injury may hamper your ability to travel. At the same time, dealing with your insurance carrier may be another headache altogether. The last thing you probably want to do is worry about getting your official police report. The attorneys at Rosner Law Offices, P.C. can take this task off your hands while helping you pursue your claim. To learn more about our services, contact our office today at (856) 692-6500 and schedule your free consultation.