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Auto Accident: How Are Police Reports Used

If you ever happen to be involved in a road traffic collision or accident that involves more than just a slight bump or one that leaves people with injuries or worse, then the accident is likely to be investigated by the police force.

Once police officers are able to ensure that any injured parties are taken care of by medical personnel and have secured the scene to prevent any further accidents from occurring, they are likely to carry out a thorough investigation of the accident. This usually involves questioning, (where possible) the people involved as well as obtaining statements from any witnesses available.

They will also view, photograph or otherwise record the scene, vehicles and the conditions where the incident occurred and use all the information they gather to produce a police accident report.

What is A Police Report?

police writing car crash reportThe police report is an official document kept by the government and used in legal cases. It details and summarises all the details of an accident as recorded by the officer at the scene. Or to put it differently, a police report is a record of the investigators view of what they think caused or led to the accident based on all the evidence they gathered at the time.

However since it is a view, it can be considered subjective or include errors, wrong assumptions or incorrect data and the defence in prosecution cases often challenge police reports, and sometimes succeed in discrediting them.

There are some police reports any member of the public can purchase for a small fee. Other police reports however, especially those required for criminal or civil cases are held confidentially and are only available to those who are actually involved in a case such as defence attorneys or Insurance firms on request.

Some of the essential information you will find in a police report includes:

  • When and where the incident occurred.
  • A description of what happened at the accident accompanied by evidence such as photos, diagrams of the scene.
  • The details of any drivers (or riders) involved in the accident, including their names, addresses, ages and licence details.
  • Contact details for all persons at the scene including witnesses to the accident as well as drivers, passengers and victims.
  • Details of all vehicles involved in the incident, and the damage to the vehicles as well as details of any property damaged by or in the accident.
  • Where people were actually injured in a traffic accident, the report lists who they were and what injuries they suffered as a result.
  • The conditions under which the accident occurred i.e. the state of the road and the weather and lighting conditions at the time such as whether it was dark, raining or snowing – any of which could potentially have contributed to the accident occurring.

How Are These Reports Utilized In Auto Accidents?

Copies of a police report can be used both by the state to aid prosecution of any potentially guilty parties, lawyers in the pursuit of civil cases or defence attorney’s seeking a means of setting their clients free.

Other parties who are likely to want to view the police report are Insurance firms for the people involved in the accident such as drivers, passengers or traffic victims (passengers, cyclists etc.). They will need the information to help them defend their clients in law suits, have a claim denied or reduced, diminish their liability or even seek for a larger payout in a law suit – depending on which side they represent.