When you're involved in a car accident, a police report contains valuable information that can help if you decide to file a claim against the other driver.
When should the police be called?
If you’re involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, you should call the police. You can also call for accidents not involving injuries, if you want documentation of the facts surrounding the incident.
This represents a recent change for Las Vegas Metro police. In 2014, they stopped responding to accidents that didn’t involve injuries or suspected impairment. This policy was reversed in January of 2016, allowing drivers to call 311 for non-injury crashes in Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County and 911 for accidents with serious or life-threatening injuries.
What is a police report?
When you call the police, the responding officer will gather information, such as the involved parties' names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance coverage. The officer will interview each party as well as any witnesses, will gather any physical evidence and take photographs of the damage. In addition to the basic contact information and statements, the police report will also include the following information:
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- A diagram of the accident
- Any citations issued or laws violated
- The officer's opinion as to who was at fault
The officer’s opinion regarding fault may be taken into consideration, but insurance companies will usually conduct their own investigations.
How do I get a copy of the police report?
The responding officer will usually give you a receipt at the scene of the accident that bears a number associated with the police report concerning your accident. It will also have contact information for the local law enforcement agency handling your case. You can contact them and pay a small fee – usually around $15 – to get a copy of your report.
After an insurance claim is filed, you can also check with your insurer to see if they have obtained a copy of the report. If so, you can get a copy at no charge.
The police report’s information contains evidence that can be helpful when filing a claim against the other driver with the help of a personal injury attorney. The statements, physical evidence, and evidence of any laws that were broken – as well as the officer's unbiased third-party opinion – can help establish your case.
If you’d like to discuss a motor vehicle accident claim, contact Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez at 702-388-GGRM (4476) for a free consultation, and download our free accident checklist for more information about what you need to know when you’re in a car accident.