After being involved in a car accident in Washington, D.C., there will be an ongoing process that you will have to go through in order to make sure that you get the compensation you need for both your property damages and personal injuries. If someone else caused the accident, you will need to deal with their insurance company in order to initiate a claim and will find very quickly that insurance companies and the adjuster that you are working with are focused on minimizing the amount that they have to pay for your suffering. The police report from the accident will be a central document in proving that you are a victim.
In nearly all car accidents where another party is at fault, it is highly suggested that victims work with personal injury attorneys to make sure that they get the money they truly deserve. Oftentimes, people think that an attorney is only helpful when they need to file a lawsuit, but this is far from the truth. An attorney can handle all communications for the victim, manage negotiations after the initial settlement offer has been made, and generally shield you from the stress of this process so that you can focus on recovery.
Contact Balkin & Mausner now to start working with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
How Important Is a Police Report After a Car Accident?
If you have been in an accident and the other driver was clearly at fault, then there are many different documents and accounts that will each help to support your claims. When the police arrive at the scene of an accident, they will speak with available witnesses, as well as those involved in the accident, and then submit an official report that details all of the information that they were able to gather. In this document, they will discuss observations or admissions such as speeding or distracted driving, will make a record of any citations that they issued to those involved, and will discuss the circumstances of any arrests that were made.
As more time goes by between the time of the accident and the day your settlement is finalized, the details will continue to fade in your mind, meaning that official documents will be a central part of how you are able to present this case to the insurance company, as well as any third parties such as a judge and jury if you go to trial. The report is a source of truth in a situation that may otherwise rely on the testimony of the involved parties.
These are only a few reasons why obtaining a police report after a car accident is extremely important, and why calling 911 is always a good idea, no matter how minor a collision may seem at first.
What Information Goes Into a Police Report?
Since every accident is different, the exact information that goes into a police or accident report varies from situation to situation. For example, if you are injured in the accident then the details of your reported injuries will be included in the report. If the other driver was intoxicated during the collision, then the details of their arrest and the citations issued for their crimes will also be included. In some cases, the officer may also include an accident reconstruction. This is especially helpful when the accident took place in an area that is difficult to conceptualize, or when there were very specific details at play.
How To Get a Police Report in D.C.
Once you have left the scene of the accident, gotten medical attention, and started working on your claim, you will need to obtain a copy of the police report from your accident. There are a few different ways to do this in Washington, D.C.
If you are working with an attorney, then they will be able to handle this process for you so that you can focus on your recovery and other personal matters. If you are not working with an attorney, you will need to request a copy of the report directly from the Arrest and Criminal History Section, Records Branch. You will likely need to pay an administrative fee in order to have the report released.