One of the initial documents we’ll receive when we investigate a new case is the report of the police. We’ll review this document prior to receiving the medical information, prior to when we speak to witnesses as well as before letting our client speak to the adjuster from the insurance company. What’s included in this document could have a significant impact on the claim.

When there has been an incident and the police are called, they will usually sometimes, but not always be called to the scene in order to write an incident report. For North Carolina, if the accident results in a fatality, injury or property damage that exceeds $1,000, you must inform the local police, highway patrol, or sheriff. If you fail to notify them, it could lead to a suspending your license to drive.

This article is designed to give you a general overview about how a police report could influence the claim you have for personal injuries following a car crash. The information might or may not apply to your specific case. If you have any questions about your case, only a seasoned personal injury or auto accident lawyer will be able to answer your questions.

Accidents that result in death or Injury

If you’ve been involved in an accident, and you or someone else on the scene suffers serious injuries and you need help, call 9-1-1 as soon as you can. If you’re unable to call 9-1-1 because of your injuries, remain in the area or call for help from another driver.

When the police arrive, they will check on all those involved in the accident to ensure that everyone is in good health. They will likely summon paramedics as soon as they believe that any of the people affected requires medical attention. Once the police have ensured that everyone is taken to and out of harm’s danger, they’ll begin the procedure of directing traffic and inspecting the situation.

Examining the scene of the Accident

After ensuring that all people are safe, the main task of police is to report the incident and determine if any laws were violated and then take the initial conclusion about who was the one to blame. They usually take notes or utilize worksheets to record all of this information, and then write a report at a later date.

Here’s a sample of data they usually collect:

  • Time, date and location of the accident
  • Conditions of the road and weather at the time of the accident.
  • Models and makes of the vehicles involved with license plates, the vehicle identification numbers.
  • Names of everyone driving the vehicle, as well as the driver’s license as well as insurance information
  • Contact details and names of anyone else involved, including the passengers and witnesses.
  • Details on how the incident was triggered and the possible reasons
  • Statements of participants or witnesses
  • The extent and nature of any damage that may be caused to private or public property

The officers can also snap photos of the vehicles involved as well as locations of the crash. If they suspect that someone was intoxicated, they can require that the driver undergo field sobriety tests. They may place them in jail for DWI (driving under the influence of alcohol). They can issue citations if they believe that traffic laws were not followed.

Once the area of the accident has been free of any vehicles as well as the individuals involved, police officers will be able to check in with injured persons at the hospital or at their residence. They’ll want to speak with all of them and assess the severity of the injuries each person sustained. After their investigations are completed, officers will go back to the police station and type an official accident report.

When it becomes accessible, you must get an official copy of the police report of the incident. If you reside in Wake County, you can find a redacted police record online through the City of Raleigh or the Town of Cary the police department websites. You can also get reports by going to this page of the Wake County Sheriff’s Department page, or the NC State Highway Patrol. If you reside in another area or town in North Carolina, you should look up your local police department’s webpage for directions on how you might have access to an online police report.

It is possible to obtain a large amount of details from the police report which includes the names of each driver and their insurance details and if any citations were issued (and to who) and a sketch of the crash and a brief overview of what transpired.

If you contact our office to request legal representation Our staff will take an official copy of your police report while in contact with you.

What the Police Report could affect your Insurance Claim

When you file an insurance claim with the company, they could request an original replica of the report from the police. Or they could request one from their own. It is recommended that you keep the report in your personal file. You might need it to attach to a demand letter , or to provide the report to an injury lawyer in case you decide to reach out to an attorney.

The police report might be able to reveal who was responsible for the incident. In any case the claims adjuster understands that police officers are human as everyone else which is why they often make errors. Therefore, they’ll investigate themselves and speak to their own witnesses and attempt to discover the cause of the incident. It’s possible an adjuster will discover proof that the was unaware of.

In the majority of cases, the police report is the most accurate and reliable legal document regarding what occurred in an accident , and who . In this way, many claim adjusters pay a lot of trust to the information reported within the report and consider it to be the most precise appraisal of what transpired.

Furthermore the police report will be able to carry significant significance to juries should your case make it to the courtroom. This could either benefit you or hurt you, based of whether an police officer conducting the investigation concluded that you were responsible. In contrast to criminal investigations, where the jury has to determine a defendant’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, for a personal injuries lawsuit, the jury will only have to decide that it is more likely that the incident happened as you claim it occurred. Also, whether the police concur or disapproves of your account of events could easily influence jurors one way or the other. In the end If you do not agree with the conclusion of the accident report, you must seek out a personal injury lawyer immediately.

What happens if the police Do Not Define Fault?

While it’s rare, in the event that the police officer fails to admit the blame when he or she reports the incident, you’ll have to create your own evidence to prove which party was at the fault. This might include speaking with witnesses, tracking down security cameras that captured the accident, or hiring accident reconstruction engineers or experts to testify on what transpired during the accident. This is crucially important in light of the contributory negligence laws that apply in North Carolina – it is crucial to prove that the other party was completely responsible for the incident. If you don’t prove this and lose, you’ll lose your case.

Return to Claims for Personal Injuries Guide