You were just involved in a car wreck and may be wondering what to do next. You follow the standard procedures: exchange insurance information with the other driver. Call the police. Seek medical attention if you have an apparent injury.
While the standard procedures may be necessary and required by law, what you get out of them will determine how strong your claim will be. One of the key components to building a solid insurance claim is ensuring that a detailed crash report is filed with law enforcement.
How crash reports work
When police arrive at the scene of a car wreck, they will document any evidence they find. This includes:
- Direction vehicles were traveling at the time of the crash
- Tire skid marks in the road
- The severity of the crash
- Number of parties involved
- If any injuries were reported
- If any arrests or citations were made
- If alcohol or drug impairment was a factor
- Other contributing factors
- Road conditions
- Witness statements
If for any reason, a police officer doesn’t arrive at the crash scene, you are urged to take pictures and speak to witnesses. You may then file an accident report at the nearest police station.
You may obtain your crash report online; however, it may take up to 10 business days from the day of the crash to be available.
Why crash reports matter
Even if your crash didn’t seem worth the hassle, or you didn’t experience any injury symptoms, you should always take this crucial step. In far too many cases, crash victims fail to take their claims seriously from the start. Days later, they may start to notice pain and discomfort. They realize that they may have sustained whiplash or a concussion.
A detailed crash report gives you leverage when filing an auto accident claim. Without it, the other driver’s insurance company can twist the facts and pin the blame on you. If you have sustained any injuries, in the end, you could be forced to pay for your medical expenses out of your own pocket.
Crash reports aren’t always perfect. In some cases, a responding officer may miss a crucial piece of evidence that could support your claim. That’s where an experienced auto accident attorney at Mike Slocumb Law Firm comes in.
An Alabama auto accident attorney at our firm will leave no stone unturned when investigating your crash, and may uncover additional pieces of evidence not disclosed in your crash report. To learn more about how we can help, contact us for a free case evaluation.