According to the CDC, over 6 million accidents occur per year. When they do, it is important to have all the necessary information in hand.
The accident report is one of the most important pieces of documentation after an accident; this document clearly explains what transpired.
Why an accident report is important
After an accident, it is not uncommon for individuals to be in a state of shock or confusion. Memories can be hazy, and recalling specific details becomes challenging. This is where an accident report comes in. Prepared by the police or relevant authorities, it offers a detailed, objective account of the incident. It is valuable when filing insurance claims or settling any disputes about responsibility.
Steps to obtain an accident report
If officers were present at the accident scene, they would have prepared a report, so you can ask the local police department or the sheriff’s office how to get a copy of this report.
- Visit the station. Some police stations might require a personal visit to request the report. In such cases, carry identification and relevant information about the accident, such as its date, time and location.
- Fill out the necessary paperwork. There may be specific forms to complete when requesting an accident report. Be thorough and provide as much detail as possible.
- Pay the fee. You may have to pay a fee when obtaining a report copy, so check the amount and know the acceptable forms of payment.
- Receive the report. After submitting the request, there may be a waiting period before the report is available based on the specifics of the accident and the workload of the police department.
For convenience, check whether the local police department offers an online platform to request and receive accident reports. While not universally available, this can be a handy option in many areas.
An accident report following a car mishap provides a comprehensive record of the incident, which can be helpful for various post-accident procedures. Safe driving practices can help prevent accidents, but should one occur, it is always best to be well-informed and prepared.