If you get injured in a car accident in Kansas City, it is important to immediately start gathering information. You will need to document the accident and your injuries as much as possible if you plan on bringing a claim against the at-fault party for financial compensation. One of the most important documents to obtain is an accident report. The accident report will contain key information about your crash.
First, the police will document all of the basic information about the car accident, such as the time, date and location. This includes not only the day, month and year, but also the specific time the collision occurred. This is important to document, as it can help accident reconstruction experts piece together exactly where each vehicle was in the moments leading up to the crash. The report will also document the weather conditions at the time of the crash. If it was raining or foggy, for example, this can help determine the cause of the crash.
Information From Both Drivers
The report will also include information from both drivers. The officer will write down each driver’s full name, address, phone number and insurance information. Having this information is important for the insurance claims process, as you will need the other driver’s basic information to file a claim with his or her insurance company. It can also be important to write down traits about the driver, such as whether his or her driver’s license has a corrective eyewear requirement.
A detailed description of all the vehicles involved will also be on the accident report. It should include the full vehicle information, such as the year, make and model of the vehicle, as well as the color and its license plate number. It will also document whether or not the vehicle is up to date on its registration.
Any Citations Given
If one of the drivers violated a law or broke a roadway rule, the responding officer will include this on the accident report. For example, if there is evidence that one of the drivers committed a crime or moving violation, such as driving under the influence, reckless driving, driving while uninsured, texting and driving, or speeding, the report will have the citation documented. This may serve as evidence later.
Another reason to call the police for an accident report is so that an officer can collect statements from eyewitnesses. Eyewitnesses have unique information as the only people who saw the collision take place, such as the directions and speeds that both vehicles were traveling. The officer will also speak to any passengers involved in the crash.
Opinion as to the Cause of the Crash
If the police officer has an opinion about who or what caused the crash, this will also appear on the accident report. While this will not be a definitive determination of fault, an insurance company will take the officer’s opinion into account. The officer’s opinion is different from the facts of the accident, such as the date and time. Regardless of what is written on the report, the insurance company will determine fault based on its own investigation.
How Is the Accident Report Used?
When you file a car insurance claim, one of the first questions will be a request for the police report. If you do not have a police report, this can make it harder to obtain a fair amount for your bills and losses. The insurance company will use the report to learn the basic information about the car accident, then launch an in-depth investigation using its own experts and investigators.
If your car accident case goes to court, the accident report can be admissible as evidence. In a small-claims trial, the judge can use the report for the basic facts about the crash. In a full court trial, however, certain elements of the report may fall into the category of hearsay or opinion, keeping it out of evidence. Having a Kansas City car accident attorney can help your case, as your lawyer can obtain a copy of the accident report for you and explain how it might be used during your case.