The Importance of Accident Reports and How to Get a Copy of Yours

car accident reports

What you’ll learn from this article:

After a car accident, everyone involved usually wants a copy of the police report. In fact, in order to file a claim, most insurance companies will ask you for a copy. While police at the scene take statements and decide who was at fault, they file the official report either later that day or within a week.

This means that any paperwork an Indiana police officer gives you at the accident scene is not the official report. It’s more for your information, and contains each driver’s contact and insurance information, as well as the report number. Be sure to keep this paperwork – you’ll need it later.

It’s important to note that each individual police department does not provide a copy of the accident report; all accident reports are handled by the state.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Should Always Be Reported

Indiana law says the driver of any motor vehicle must immediately call the police if they’re involved in a crash that results in injury or death, or total property damage of $1,000 or more.

  • Report the accident to the proper authorities by dialing 911.
  • After the accident is reported, each driver is required to complete and submit the Operator’s Proof of Insurance/Crash Report within 10 days. This report is used to verify that each driver involved in a crash had state-mandated insurance coverage at the time of the accident, and the form must be signed by the insurance agent or other representative of the policy provider.
  • Always report an accident, even if you think no one is hurt or the damage is under the $1,000 limit. Not reporting the crash can damage any chance you have of recovering compensation.
  • And, you’ll need that report number to get a copy of your accident report.

Where Can You Get a Copy of Your Accident Report?

You can get your accident report online or you can request it by mail. There is a fee, and if you request the report by mail, include the following information: Date, time, and location of the accident, and if possible, the investigating officer’s name.

To obtain your report online, you’ll go to Indiana’s partner, and follow this process:

  • Since supports many states and municipalities, you’ll first select Indiana from the “Start Search” dropdown menu.
  • On the Indiana page, you can either enter the report number from the paperwork you received at the scene, or you can use your name, plus the date of the accident or the police department that issued the accident report.
  • Select your report from the results page and follow the instructions. There is a fee to download your report, and this can vary.

Indiana is an At-Fault State. What Does That Mean?

Police officers who arrive at the accident scene must take statements from the drivers and declare a party at fault in the accident.

If you were in a crash where the other driver was found at fault, it’s very important that you request a copy of the accident report and submit it to your insurance company. This doesn’t guarantee that the other driver’s insurance company will accept the liability, but it does carry a lot of weight in their decision-making.

In some cases, “comparative fault” might be declared. This means a situation where more than one party is at least partially at fault for an accident. Indiana Code sections 34-51-2-5 and 34-51-2-6 say that, in a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover against any other at-fault party, but your damages will be reduced by a percentage that reflects your share of liability.

And you will not be able to recover anything at all if your share of fault for the accident exceeds 50 percent in comparison with other parties. In this case, you’re leaving your fate to an insurance adjuster, or if it gets that far, to a jury.

Getting expert legal advice is essential to get, either through an insurance company or a jury trial, the compensation you deserve.

Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery – Indianapolis Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured physically or mentally by a person, product or company, you need to know your legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced with cases like yours and can evaluate what your case may be worth. We will ensure that you are protected and compensated for your injuries and losses. Why pay up to 40% in attorney fees? Our fee is only 25%* and we fight to win your case or you pay no attorney fees at all. Don’t hesitate – one of our experienced attorneys can assist you right away. Call 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review.