In the moments right after a car accident, it may be hard to focus on which documents to ask for. Unfortunately, failing to obtain and carefully track all of the documentation after a crash could be a serious mistake. Accurate documentation, such as police reports, is vital for defending your rights after a car accident.
To prove your version of events, it is helpful to have an objective record of what happened. A police report can provide that. This article will help walk you through the process and explain some of the benefits of getting a police report after a Tennessee car accident.
WHERE CAN I REQUEST A REPORT?
It may be possible to obtain a police report in a few different ways, including:
Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP): It is possible to get a copy of a crash report from the THP approximately one week after the car accident. First, you must provide specific detailed information when making the request, including the date, county, and drivers involved in the accident. All of the required materials must then be submitted to the District Office where your accident occurred. Lastly, you must make sure to include the fee for the report. THP charges $4 for these reports.
Local Law Enforcement Records: If a law enforcement agency other than THP investigated the car accident, you would need to obtain a copy of the report from that agency directly. This means you will need to contact the offices of the police department that wrote the report. Their records office will be able to tell you what information or fees you need to provide. From there, you may be able to pick up the report in person or have the report mailed to you.
Department of Safety: A copy of the report may be purchased from the Department of Safety as well. However, access to the report depends on which agency investigated the car accident. If THP conducted the investigation, a report might be purchased 30 days after the car accident for $4. If another agency investigated the car accident, you have to wait 60 days before requesting the report and pay $4.
Online: A report may also be purchased online through buycrash.com. These reports typically cost $10. You will need to know the last name of a party involved in the accident, the date of the accident, the name of the agency that responded to the scene of the crash, and additional details.
Our knowledgeable attorneys can also take the burden off you by obtaining a copy of your accident report as part of our investigation into your car accident claim. Contact us today to learn how we can help in your case.
WHEN SHOULD I ASK FOR A POLICE REPORT?
Tennessee law requires that drivers report an accident involving $50 or more of property damage, injury, or death. You are also required by law to file an Owner/Driver Report within 20 days if the property damage exceeded $400, there was injury, or a person was killed in an accident. Thus, you should request copies of these reports as well.
If you were injured in the accident, your health and well-being are a priority. However, as soon as you are well enough, you should begin the process of requesting a police report or talk to an attorney about launching an investigation. Regardless of whether you are the victim, or you think you may be at fault, it is important to request a police report immediately.
Having this documentation will go a long way toward strengthening your insurance claims and future legal arguments. Police reports are often quite impactful, especially with Insurance companies and the courts. Because of this, your attorney will want to include this as evidence in your claim.
WHAT IS INSIDE OF A POLICE REPORT USUALLY?
The information found in a police accident report includes a wealth of detail and perspective. Given the shock and surprise that may follow an accident, it is easy for those involved to miss details. The police report often captures the details that you may have missed in the aftermath of a Tennessee car accident.
The accident report may also include information that other drivers did not immediately disclose to you. For these reasons, you should request the police report even before filing your insurance claim or communicating with the other driver’s insurance carrier.
THE BENEFITS OF OBTAINING A POLICE REPORT
Some individuals may be resistant to the idea of requesting a police accident report for various reasons. For example, uninsured motorists may want to avoid getting law enforcement involved in any way. However, obtaining a police report is beneficial for a number of reasons, including:
- Detailed information about the accident from a neutral third-party
- Access to any notes on statements by the other driver
- Verification of the time and location of the accident
- Descriptions of any vehicle or property damage
- Evidence for any further investigations or case presentations
In addition to these benefits, you are required to submit a copy of the police report for other purposes. Your insurance company may want to see it before making a decision about your claim. Thus, getting your hands on a police report could be helpful both in the short term and in the long term. If insurance negotiations are not going well, the police report will be a critical part of the investigation for any later litigation.
LET OUR ATTORNEYS DO THE WORK FOR YOU
The Law Office of David E. Gordon is committed to helping Tennessee accident victims throughout the case investigation process. This includes helping you obtain the police report after a car accident and explaining all of your legal options. Let us worry about the paperwork and documentation so that you can focus on your recovery process.
Our law firm will fight aggressively in pursuit of full and fair compensation for you. Contact David E. Gordon today for a free consultation.