Yes. Blog over...
Just kidding, but not really. Police involvement after a motor vehicle accident can be a major hassle. Between waiting for officers to arrive and having to deal with questioning and investigation reports, calling 911 after a car accident might seem like more of a trouble than a benefit. In some cases, that might be true. However, once you leave the seen of a collision, you have no idea how cooperative the other driver will be or if their story will change to your detriment. Getting the police involved early may provide the necessary evidence to win your personal injury case.
At the scene of a motor vehicle collision, investigating officers have many tasks.
Health and Welfare. First and foremost, they will ensure the safety and health of the parties. You may not realize just how hurt you are until a trained officer is asking you questions. They can quickly contact paramedics if the need arises. As importantly, they will note down specific injuries in their reports. If you advise the officer that you have substantial neck and back pain, that note will help your case down the line.
Statements of the Parties. Stories change over time. If the at fault party tells you at the scene they are accepting responsibility, without something in writing, there is nothing stopping them from changing their tune. Police often get written statements or alternatively provide notes about discussions with parties. This documentation may be crucial for determining liability after a collision.
Photographs. Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, parties are not great at documenting the scene. Police will show up and take photographs of the important pieces – broken materials, skid marks, vehicle positions, injuries, etc.
Traffic Infractions. While perhaps not admissible in court, the officer may make a determination of fault in their report. This typically comes with a traffic infraction. This can provide good information to an insurance company to help boost your case.
Witness Information. If witnesses stayed at the scene, collecting and organizing witness information without police help may be difficult. Officers will make sure to get statements from eyewitnesses and will take down witness contact information to make following up with witnesses much easier.
Insurance Information. When it comes to your personal injury case, knowing information about the at fault party is crucial. The police will take down each party’s phone number, address, name, insurance company and policy number. This information will help your attorney locate the person and insurance coverage.
Calling the police may be a hassle, but it is clearly worth it in every situation after an accident. Now, sometimes, police might not come to the scene. If the collision was on private property, they might not be able to help. Sometimes, the police might take so long to arrive that you leave beforehand. Not having the officer’s report is not the end of the world, but it can provide key evidence to help you with your personal injury case. At the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS, our experience attorneys know what evidence you need to best serve your claim. Call today for a free case evaluation!