Impact of a Police Report in a Car Crash Claim

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on May 20, 2021 in Auto Accident

side view of police car daytimeThere are many reasons why you should call the police after a collision involving one or more vehicles. The most important reason is to get first responders to the scene to assist those in need of medical assistance. However, a police report also provides valuable information if you need to file a claim.

Rizk Law discusses what Oregonians should know about police reports and reporting a car crash below.

Car crashes are an unfortunate, but common occurrence. If you suffered physical injuries and property damages because of another’s negligence, it is important to know how police reports may impact a potential claim. Our experienced auto accident lawyers in Portland are always ready to help. Find out if you have a case in a completely free consultation.

Call to schedule your free case review. 503.245.5677

How Police Reports May Impact a Car Crash Claim

When police respond to the scene of a crash, they will likely create a report about what happened. In this report, the responding officer will provide many important details about the incident, along with their assessment of how it occurred.

The details you will see on most police reports include:

  • The date, location and approximate time of the crash
  • Contact details of the involved drivers and their vehicles
  • Diagrams showing the resting position of each vehicle at the time the officer arrived
  • Insurance details, including the company and policy number, for each driver
  • Statements from drivers about how the crash occurred
  • Accounts of any bystanders who witnessed what happened
  • Any other important details, such as if any citations were issued

How Information on a Police Report May Help

In addition to providing the basic information already mentioned, a police report can also help support a car crash claim in other ways, by:

  • Creating an official link between your injuries and the crash.
  • Providing an unbiased account of the crash – A police report is often considered more reliable over the account of bystander.
  • Strengthening your insurance claim – Police reports generally carry more weight and are also considered impartial, which may help during settlement negotiations with an insurance company.
  • Providing witness statements –Witnesses may often feel more comfortable providing a statement to a police officer over a random driver or passenger involved in a car crash.

What Happens if My Police Report Has Errors?

Police officers are human, so mistakes do happen. To verify your police report is correct, get a copy of it as soon as it is available and review it for any errors. If you see any mistakes, contact the officer who created the report straight away to get it corrected.

What if Police Do Not Respond?

In Oregon, police will likely be dispatched to a crash scene if the reported accident involves injuries, fatalities, or an intoxicated, impaired or violent driver. The police are also likely to respond if the collision is creating additional hazards for others on the road, such as by blocking traffic.

That said, if police do not respond to the scene of a crash in Oregon, you will not get a police report. Whether or not there is a police report, Oregon drivers, by law, must file a traffic accident report with the DMV anytime a collision you are involved in results in:

  • Damage to your vehicle exceeding $2,500
  • Injury to any individual, regardless of how minor the injury may be
  • Damage to any other vehicle or personal property exceeding $2,500
  • Damage of more than $2,500 causing a vehicle to be towed from the scene
  • Death

Reports must be filed within 72 hours of when the incident occurred. Save a copy for your own records before submitting it. Once you submit the report, the DMV cannot, under state law, provide a copy for you afterwards.

Gather Evidence at the Scene

Portland is currently experiencing severe police shortages as police retire and transfer away, causing low morale among police. More than ever, it is important to document accident scenes yourself as best you can by taking photos, videos and getting witness information.

If police do not respond to the scene, and you can do so without putting yourself or others in danger, here are some tips for gathering evidence on your own:

  • Take photos with your cellphone. Make sure to include the position of all vehicles, damage to all vehicles, debris on the road, evidence of the weather and road conditions, your injuries and anything else you think could be helpful.
  • Note the location of traffic or surveillance cameras that might have captured the crash
  • Get contact details of any witnesses.
  • Write down details of what happened; include what you remember happening right before the crash.

Injured in a Car Crash? Rizk Law is Ready to Help

If a negligent driver caused you to suffer injuries and other damages, Rizk Law is ready to provide legal assistance. Contact our law firm, anytime, night or day, to learn more.

We offer a completely free initial consultation to discuss your situation and answer your questions. While there is no obligation to hire our firm, if we do represent you, there is nothing for you to pay up front. We only get paid if you do.