Car accidents are a significant problem in the United States. The rising number of car accident fatalities is worrying, yet some of the accidents on our highways are avoidable. When one is involved in a car accident, the shock and the chaotic events can leave them worrying about the next necessary steps.
In the aftermath of a car accident, it is essential to remain composed and seek immediate medical treatment. Additionally, one crucial action you need to take is to call the police and file a police report. Although it may seem like a hassle during an already overwhelming time, a police report can protect your rights and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Should You File a Police Report Following a Car Accident in Burbank, California?
A police report can serve as a critical piece of evidence after a car accident. Regardless of the accident’s severity, filing a police report is highly recommended. Sometimes the police may not show up at the scene, especially if the injuries and damages are minimal. However, let this not make you ignore reporting the incident to the sheriff or local police.
Having an official record of the accident can be very beneficial. Sometimes people develop symptoms of injuries weeks after the accident or find that their vehicle sustained more damage than they thought. A police report can be used then in the claims process. It is better to err on the side of caution than wishing if only you had reported the accident to the police.
What is Contained in a Police Report?
A typical police report includes several details, such as:
- Accident date, time, and location
- Names, contact information, and addresses of all parties involved
- Vehicle models and license plate numbers
- Statements from witnesses
- Descriptions of damages and injuries
- Weather and road conditions
- Citations issued
- Accident scene photos
- The officer’s assessment of who is at fault
These details provide a comprehensive overview of the accident and can be extremely useful during the claims process.
The Importance of Police Reports in Car Accidents
Police reports are important for the following reasons:
- Your Burbank Car Accident Attorney Will Need it
Car accident attorneys use police reports as valuable evidence when helping you pursue compensation. Additionally, they can use the police report to reconstruct the accident, gather witness statements, search for the at-fault parties and develop a strategic approach to advocate for your rights.
- Insurance Companies Always Want a Copy of the Police Report
Insurance companies heavily rely on police reports when processing claims. Without it, they can easily deny your claim arguing that your injuries and damages are unrelated to the accident since there is no police report. A police report helps them understand what happened, who was at fault for the accident and assess damages incurred.
- The Law Requires You to File a Police Report
Under California, CA Veh Code § 20008, the law requires you to report car accidents involving injuries or death to be reported within 24 hours to the Department of the California Highway Patrol or the local police department. Failure to report the accident can attract hefty fines and even jail time.
- Documenting Damages
Police reports provide detailed documentation of the damages sustained in the accident. This can be essential when filing an insurance claim or pursuing legal action to ensure you receive the rightful compensation.
- Determining Liability and Resolving Disagreements
Police reports also contain an unbiased assessment of the officer based on the evidence and statements gathered from the scene. This can significantly impact insurance claims and legal proceedings and resolve disagreements regarding fault and how the accident happened.
- Linking Your Injuries to the Crash
Police reports can provide an essential link between the car accident and the injuries suffered. These reports can be used along with medical records when pursuing compensation for medical expenses incurred due to the crash.
How to File a Police Report
You need to make an accurate and comprehensive report to protect your rights. To accomplish this, you should take the following steps:
- Contact the police immediately after the accident
- Cooperate with the responding officer. If no law enforcement officer shows up at the scene, visit the local police department to make the report
- Provide an accurate and detailed description of the events leading up to the accident
- Describe injuries and damages suffered as accurately and honestly as possible
- Provide witness statements and photos from the accident scene
- If the police are at the accident scene, request a copy of the police report or obtain the report number and keep it safe.
Speak to a Burbank Car Accident Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a car accident in Burbank, California, you will need experienced legal help to receive the compensation you deserve. Contact the experienced Burbank car accident attorneys at 818-403-3382 or online today. We can help you file your claim and receive the maximum compensation you deserve.