Dealing with car accidents can be an overwhelming experience. However, it is important to handle the situation properly, or you could face problems when it comes time to seek compensation. In any case, you must contact the police to report the incident. The police will prepare a report documenting the accident and provide vital evidence if you pursue legal action.
Whether you have been involved in a simple fender bender or experienced a head-on collision, these reports will become crucial to your personal injury case. If you want to know more about car accidents and police reports in Minnesota, the team at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., is ready to assist you.
Can You File a Car Accident Claim Without a Police Report?
While it is possible to file a car accident claim without having a police report, having one is highly advised. Thus, contacting the police immediately after an accident is critical. An officer will investigate the scene, document the details, interview witnesses, and prepare an official report.
A police report is an official document that accurately describes the incident, potentially providing unbiased information to support your claim. Insurance companies view police reports as valuable information sources, increasing your case’s credibility. In addition, they can provide valuable information that leads to crucial evidence to support a legal claim.
Without a police report, proving fault and gathering the necessary documentation to support your claim can be challenging. This can lead to difficulties negotiating with insurance companies, potentially resulting in delays or reduced compensation.
Having a police report strengthens your position by providing an objective account of the accident. With this information, you can enhance the strength of your claim, making it more likely to reach a successful resolution.
What Information Is Included in a Car Accident Police Report?
Since the police report is a detailed document, it includes numerous sources of information regarding the accident. Key elements include the following:
- The accident’s date, time, and location: One of the most critical aspects of the police report is that it documents the exact time and place of the collision. As a result, it helps determine liability and reconstructs the events leading up to the accident.
- Parties involved: The report also identifies the drivers and passengers involved in the accident, along with their contact information and insurance details. The insurance companies or legal team often use that information to contact those individuals about the incident.
- Witness statements: If any witnesses are present at the scene, law enforcement officers will document their statements and include them in the police report. These statements provide additional perspectives that may support your version of events.
- Description of the accident: A police report will include a narrative description of the accident, including the weather conditions, road layout, and any traffic violations committed. A description is another aspect that helps establish a clear understanding of the collision’s circumstances.
- Diagrams and photographs: In some reports, the police officer sketches a diagram illustrating the accident scene and takes pictures to document vehicle damage, skid marks, and other applicable evidence. These visual aids can provide additional clarity and valuable evidence for your claim.
- Citations and charges: If the officer observed any traffic violations or other illegal conduct, the report may indicate the citations or charges filed against the involved parties. This information can be instrumental in establishing fault and negligence.
You should act quickly on these reports. There is a statute of limitations. Under Minnesota Statute 541.05, you must file a claim against the liable party or parties within six years of the accident date. In most situations, you can recover compensation if you are less than 50 percent at fault for an accident.
How to Obtain a Car Accident Police Report in Minnesota
Since this report is important evidence in your case, you must request it immediately after the accident. In many cases, the information should be ready a few days after the incident. Ordering a car accident police report is simple. Here are the steps:
- Contact the law enforcement agency: Contact the police department or the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident. When making the request, provide them with the necessary details, such as the incident’s date, time, location, and the parties involved. If you don’t know which agency handled the accident, contact the local police department for guidance.
- Fill out any required forms: Some agencies may require you to complete certain forms or provide identification to access the police report. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure a smooth process. If you leave out any details, it could delay receiving the report.
- Pay any associated fees: Depending on the jurisdiction, a fee may be associated with obtaining a copy of the police report. Before you make the request, verify the applicable charges and payment methods with the agency. Remember that fees may vary, and some agencies may offer fee waivers for victims of certain crimes.
- Review a copy: Once the report is available, you can either pick it up in person or request a copy through mail or email, depending on the agency’s procedures. Some departments may also provide online access to accident reports, allowing you to download and print them at your convenience. Review the information to make sure everything is correct. Address any discrepancies with the issuing agency immediately to ensure these do not become issues during your claim.
Remember to keep copies of the police report for your records.
How Police Reports Determine Liability
Insurance companies consider various factors when determining liability in an accident, including police reports. Insurance adjusters use them to assess claims and liability. Additionally, attorneys for both parties review the information to try to confirm or dispute the facts of the claim.
In complex cases, experts may be consulted for their professional opinions after reviewing the police report. While police reports do many important things, they are generally not admissible in court. The officer who prepared the report can testify, though. However, the report can help produce admissible evidence such as witness statements, photographs, and admissions by the at-fault party that can be vital to a personal injury case.
Consulting with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you have any inquiries about your car accident case or want to know more about a police report, contact a professional Minneapolis car accident lawyer. The experienced attorneys at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A. are skilled at handling personal injury cases and can offer valuable guidance throughout the legal process.
Our knowledgeable car accident attorneys can review your police report, gather additional evidence, and evaluate the strength of your claim. We know the complexities of the legal system and can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. If a lawsuit is necessary, our attorneys can build a strong case, present arguments based on the police report, and fight for your rights in court.
By contacting an attorney and asking for a free case evaluation, you can understand the legal options available to you and receive personalized advice based on your situation.
Reach Out to a Minnesota Car Accident Law Firm
Filing a police report after a car accident in Minnesota is highly recommended, especially if you decide to pursue legal action. While it is possible to file a claim without a police report, having an official document that captures the essential details of the accident can significantly strengthen your case.
If you have any concerns or questions about your case, the team at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A. is here to help. Contact us for a free case evaluation.