Before you suffered a crash, you may have thought that a car accident report was a written account of the details of a road accident. Now that you have a copy of your report in front of you, you can see that the actual form used by police is much more complicated than a simple summary of the wreck. Our experienced car accident lawyers are here to explain the critical details in the Tennessee Uniform Traffic Crash Report and help you get the compensation you deserve.
How to Read Your Tennessee Uniform Traffic Crash Report
The standard car accident form used by local police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol is called the Tennessee Uniform Traffic Crash Report. It is divided into a series of columns and boxes to collect the crucial details of the accident. Some of these details are facts (such as names and addresses), while others are the opinion or impression of the officer at the scene (such as the likely cause of the crash).
As the victim in a car accident case, you should pay particular attention to the boxes marked:
- Vehicle number. After the officer fills out each driver’s contact information and vehicle details, each driver will be referred to throughout the rest of the report under their vehicle number. If only two vehicles are involved, one driver is labeled V1, and the other is V2. Make sure the number you have been assigned is consistent throughout the report. If the vehicle numbers are switched in any category, you could be seen as the driver who caused the accident rather than the driver who was struck.
- Location. It is worth checking the details recorded under the date, time, and location of the crash. If there are any factual errors, you should contact the law enforcement agency to have them corrected as soon as possible.
- Violations. This is the first place an insurance adjuster will look when trying to deny your claim based on an accident report. If either driver received a citation, that driver could be considered negligent. However, it is important to understand what the citation was for since not all forms of negligence are a direct cause of injury.
- Driver condition. The Driver Factors section is vital to your claim, as it shows the officer’s opinion of the likely causes of the crash. The officer may record their overall impressions of each driver (such as their emotional state), as well as the answers to direct questions (such as whether a driver had taken any medications).
- Driver actions. There are numerous actions listed on an accident report that can contribute to a crash, and an officer can select up to five actions per driver. The officer’s selections can be based on admissions from the driver, statements from witnesses, or the officer’s own personal opinion of the likely cause of the crash.
- Alcohol / Drugs. Officers are required to record any evidence or suspicion of alcohol and drug use in either driver. If the officer performed a blood alcohol test, the results can be requested and used as evidence in your claim.
- Vehicle damage. The officer will record the damage to each vehicle as well as an estimate for repair costs. If you have photos of the damage to your vehicle that the officer failed to record, you may use the photos as evidence in your claim in order to get full value for your losses.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious car accident, GriffithLaw is here to help. We can discuss your next steps in your free injury consultation, and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, please call (615) 807-7900 today or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.