Once you've begun the process to be reimbursed and paid for your car accident damages, you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed by the paperwork. It can be hard to know what is important and useful and what is not. One important document is the accident (or police) report. Read on to find out just how valuable this document is and how to put it to use.
What Is the Accident Report and How Should I Use It?
This report is created and released by the responding law enforcement agency. One of the first uses you will find is to provide much-needed information to your lawyer about the accident. Before you do, however, read it over and check for inaccuracies. If you find any of the below to be in error, contact law enforcement immediately.
- Check that names are spelled correctly.
- Check that the date and time of the accident are correct.
- Check the information about car makes and models.
- Check the insurance information for both parties.
Once an accident report has been generated, it cannot be changed, but a correction addendum can be attached to it.
Using the Report as Evidence
Technically, the accident report is not admissible in court. That doesn't mean, however, that it cannot be used to help your case. That is because the report not only contains all the information your lawyer needs to begin working on your case, but it contains a very valuable opinion as to the cause of the accident. The responding officer will do an initial investigation at the scene of the accident and create a preliminary assessment. This evaluation is based on the position of the vehicles, statements from passengers and drivers, skid marks, and eyewitness statements. The opinion as to the cause of the wreck carries a lot of weight even though it cannot be used in court.
Using the Report to Gain Compensation
There are other ways to be paid for the accident than taking the other driver to court. If you are offered an adequate settlement sum, you can sign the paperwork and be done with the entire thing. That is where valuable evidence like the accident report comes into play. When the highly valued opinion of the police officer backing you up, you are far more likely to be offered a good settlement. Additionally, if the other driver was cited for a traffic violation, that will be on the report and further strengthens your claim for damages.
Speak to your car accident attorney to learn more.