If you were involved in a car accident caused by another driver, you will always want to call the police and obtain a copy of the police report. Even if you do not believe you were hurt or your vehicle only suffered minor damage, obtaining the police report will be vital. Some symptoms of injuries in supposedly “minor” crashes may not become apparent for days or weeks after your accident. However, if you called the police, you will still be able to obtain a copy of the police report—something you will need whether you file a claim with your own or the negligent driver’s insurance company.
What Important Information Does a Police Report Contain?
To obtain compensation for your injuries, you must prove the liability of the other driver in causing the crash. While not admissible in court, a police report can contain crucial information that will help your attorney prove the other driver’s fault. In addition, insurance adjusters often find the police officer’s conclusions as to fault compelling, and the report may assist in settling your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
A police report is a document generated by the police officer who comes to the scene of a car crash. Helpful information it may contain includes:
- Contact information. The police report will contain the contact information for the other driver, anyone else involved in the crash, and witnesses. Your attorney can use this information to file your claim and obtain witness statements before their memories of what happened fade.
- Details of the crash. The police officer will investigate the crash and will include details, such as the date, time, and location of the crash, damage to vehicles, and his determination as to the cause of the accident in his report. He will also note if a citation was issued to the negligent driver.
- Witness and driver statements. As part of his investigation, the police officer will talk to the drivers and witnesses. The report could contain important information—such as a statement by the negligent driver admitting guilt in causing your wreck.
- Damage to vehicles and injuries. The police report will describe the damage to the vehicles and may include information regarding anyone suffering injuries. In serious accidents, the officer may have taken pictures of the damage to the vehicles and the accident scene.
- Weather and road conditions. If poor weather, road conditions, or lighting contributed to the crash, these conditions may be noted on the report.
- Diagram. The officer may have drawn a diagram that is helpful in showing how the accident occurred.
How Do You Obtain a Copy of the Police Report in Tennessee?
Obtaining a police report in Tennessee is relatively easy, and you have several different options for obtaining a copy of it. Often, the officer at the scene will provide you with his business card that has a telephone number to call at the local law enforcement office to order the report and the identification number for the report. However, you do not need to have the identification number to obtain a police report. The date of the crash, the county where it occurred, and the names of the drivers is sufficient. You can obtain a report using one of these methods:
- Tennessee Highway Patrol. If the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated the crash, you can obtain a copy of the police report for $4.00 at a Tennessee Highway Patrol District Office approximately seven days after the crash. You can make your request in person or by mail.
- Other law enforcement agency. If the report was generated by another law enforcement agency, such as a local police department, you can order a copy of the report from that agency. The time period before you can obtain it and the procedures for purchasing it may vary. Some police departments may have instructions for how to order a report on their websites.
- Department of Safety. You can purchase a copy of the police report for $4.00 from the Tennessee Department of Safety 30 days after your accident if the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated it or 60 days after it if another police agency was involved.
- Online. In Tennessee, you can purchase a police report from any law enforcement agency throughout the state online through buycrash.com. The reports cost $10 and are generally available within seven days of the crash.
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver? Call the experienced legal team at GriffithLaw to schedule your free case review to learn how we can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.