Should You Rely On The Police Report After An Accident?

Police are integral to keeping our families safe.  They put their lives on the line every day for their communities.  They handle life and death situations every day.  Piecing together car accident reports may not be high on their priority list, and that’s why you have to take steps after an accident to collect evidence yourself!

What Information Is In A Police Report?:

Most Louisiana law enforcement use the same uniform crash report form for car accidents.  The form captures lots of information.  Most importantly for car accident claims, it includes the names of the drivers and passengers involved, the owner(s) of the vehicles, information about the vehicles, and car insurance information. The police report will also state whether any tickets (citations) were issued. 

Police reports also include a narrative report stating how the accident occurred.  This is important.  However, in an estimated 25% of the reports we see, the narrative report contains an error in its description of the accident.  For example, a report may incorrectly show the position of the vehicles or show one turning right, when they were really turning left. 

Errors in police reports are understandable, as the police arrive on scene after the accident occurs.  Sometimes the drivers have already been transported to the hospital and aren’t even available to give their account of the accident.  Even when all the parties are still at the scene, the police officer must take in differing reports of what happened, sometimes even from witnesses.  They take that information, as well as visual evidence of the crash, to put together the accident report. 

Steps You Can Take To Protect Yourself In Case A Report Contains Errors:

If they are able to do so, accident victims should take it upon themselves to collect information and evidence from the scene. 

First, take as many pictures and videos of the scene as possible.  Make sure to capture the position of the vehicles, the road, any traffic signals, etc.  Once the cars are moved, that evidence will be lost forever. 

Second, get the other driver’s information, including their name, their insurance carrier, and their policy number.  Write down the make and model of their vehicle.  If possible, take a picture of their driver’s license, insurance card, and registration. 

Why Is It Important To Collect Your Own Evidence?

Collecting your own evidence is important for a number of reasons.  First, if the police report is incorrect, you will have the photos and videos to prove your case.  This is important to insurance adjusters, who are responsible for establishing liability for the accident. 

Second, even if the police report is accurate, it may take weeks to obtain it.  If you already have information regarding the other driver and their insurance, you will be able to initiate the claims process without having to wait for the police report, which will save you time.

Have You Been In An Accident And Have Questions About The Accuracy Of A Police Report?

If you have been injured in a car wreck and have questions about the accuracy of a police report, contact us online or call our Covington office directly at 985.590.6182 to schedule your free consultation today. Flattmann Law serves clients on the Northshore, including Covington, Mandeville, Abita Springs, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Folsom, Madisonville, Goodbee, Hammond, Lacombe, Pearl River, and Slidell.

Grady Flattmann
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Local Covington, Louisiana attorney focusing 100% on personal injury matters.