If you are injured in a Missouri car accident caused by another driver, certain documents, including the police car accident report, can provide a basis for your claim.
Filing a car accident claim can be done with the help of a Missouri car accident attorney. You will need to provide proof of your injury and other damages and proof that you were not the cause of the accident. Certain documents can be used, such as the police car accident report, to provide a basis for your car accident claim.
What to Do When Involved in a Missouri Car Accident
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in Missouri, you are required by law to stop your car at the scene. Failure to do so is considered a crime and could hurt your chances of being reimbursed for any financial damage. Only move your car if you can and if it is in a position that is likely to cause another car crash. Otherwise, leave it where it is until the police instruct you to move it. If you can, before any vehicle is moved, use your cell phone to photograph exactly how the cars where positioned after the crash. This could go a long way in showing who caused the accident to happen. The Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles also recommends that you help anyone who is hurt, call the police, set up flares around the scene if it is dark, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver, and remain at the scene until a police officer tells you to, unless you are seriously hurt and need immediate medical attention.
The Missouri Police Accident Report
When the police are called to the scene of an accident, they will fill out a report detailing what they found and any conclusions that they come to. They may interview witnesses to the accident, take pictures, and discuss the accident with both drivers and any passengers involved. Their impression of the scene is important and will all be contained in the report they file with the agency they work for.
How to Obtain a Police Accident Report
Having the officer’s account of the accident is critical for your Missouri car accident claim, but how you obtain it will depend on which county the accident took place in and which law enforcement agency responded. A Missouri auto accident injury attorney will know who to contact in order to get you the report you need for your case. If the accident was minor and the police did not respond, it is your responsibility to report the accident yourself. You have one year to do so and only if the damages were greater than $500 or there was a personal injury.
Can a Police Report Help Your St. Louis Car Accident Case?
Although they are generally not admissible in court police reports can certainly be of use in a car accident case.
Missouri is a comparative law state, which means that when you are in a car accident, it is possible for more than one party to be found at fault. Comparative law states dictate that both parties in a car accident can be ascribed an amount of negligence in the accident. This is different from an at-fault state, where only one person can be found negligent and liable to pay for any resulting damages and injuries.
The percentage of guilt assigned to each party determines how much they pay in damages. For instance, if someone pulls out in front of you and you hit them, then they would generally bear responsibility. However, if you were speeding, then you might be found partially liable for damages and injuries too.
If you are in an accident, it is imperative that you get a police report filed. First of all, if you don’t wait for law enforcement at the scene, you could possibly be charged with a hit and run, especially if you don’t exchange driver information. Secondly, you will want to have a police report filed to help with the negotiation process for a settlement. Although police reports are not admissible in a court of law and will not help you if the case goes to trial, recording events through a police report is a great tool for your St. Louis car accident attorney to review to help ascribe fault or to exonerate you of any liability when negotiating.
The police report will generally have the specifics of the case, whether there were any tickets issued, and it will have the recounts given by both parties at the scene. Events are much better recorded at the time of the accident, rather than going back and trying to remember what happened.
Although they are generally not admissible in court because police reports are technically considered hearsay, they can certainly help your St. Louis car accident attorney negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. A police report may help you to get all that you are entitled to and help to establish who was negligent and is liable for damages. When meeting with your St. Louis car accident lawyer, it is always a good idea to bring a copy of the police report so that your lawyer will have something to work with. It just might be the best tool for getting you the compensation you are entitled to without having to take the case to trial.
“There’s an Error on the Car Accident Police Report: What Are My Options?”
Dealing with a car accident is never easy, but things can get even more complicated if there are errors in the police report. Whether it’s a typo or a factual mistake, a police report error can have serious consequences for your claim or lawsuit. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to challenge the report and protect your interests.
Here are some of the most common police report errors and the steps you can take to fix them.
Common Police Report Errors
Police report errors can take many different forms. Some of the most common include:
One of the most common problems is simple typographical errors, such as misspelled names or incorrect addresses. These might seem like minor details, but they can have a major impact on the outcome of a case. In some instances, these errors can even lead to charges being dropped or reduced. For example, if the police report mistakenly lists the wrong make and model of the other vehicle involved in an accident, it could jeopardize an insurance claim. A typo in the description of the accident can also lead to an incorrect determination of fault.
Another common error is missing information. This can include the name and contact information of the other driver, insurance information, and a detailed description of the accident. Without this vital information, it can be difficult to file a claim or pursue legal action.
Faulty Accident Diagrams
Police officers often draw diagrams of the scene of an accident as part of their report. These diagrams can be essential evidence in determining fault. However, due to the fast-paced nature of an accident, it’s easy for them to make mistakes when drawing their diagrams. For example, they may not include all the cars involved in the accident or may not accurately show the positions of the cars at the time of impact. They may also fail to take into account important details such as road conditions or road markings. This can lead to confusion and ambiguity when determining who is at fault for the accident.
- Inaccurate witness statements
- Incorrect information about the other driver
These are just a few of the most common police report errors. There are many others that can occur, and any one of them could have a serious impact on your case.
If you believe there is an error in the police report, it’s important to take action as soon as possible. The sooner you catch and correct the mistake, the less likely it is to cause problems down the road.
How to Fix Police Report Errors
First things first, get a copy of the police report and go through it carefully to verify if there is an error and what kind of error it is. Once you have identified the mistake, you may consider reaching out to the officer who filed the report and ask for a correction.
The Missouri car accident report is an important document that is used to show how the accident occurred and who may be liable for it. In order to ensure your legal rights are protected throughout the process of filing a car accident claim, we recommend having an experienced car accident attorney by your side to help you navigate the process.
What if You Can’t Obtain the Police Report Right Away?
There are a few reasons why you might not be able to get your police report right away:
The Police Department Is Backlogged
While this is the last thing you’d want to hear, it’s unfortunately not uncommon for police departments to be backlogged. This is especially true in larger cities where there is a high volume of accidents. If this is the case, the best thing you can do is be patient and keep checking back with the department until the report is available.
The Police Department Is Waiting on Information from Witnesses or the Other Driver Involved in the Accident
This is another common reason why reports might not be available right away. The police department may be waiting on information from witnesses or the other driver involved in the accident before they can release the report. If this is the case, there may not be much you can do but wait for them to gather all the necessary information.
The Investigation Is Still Ongoing
If the accident was more severe or resulted in injuries, the police department may need to conduct a more thorough investigation. Again, it is generally best in this situation to wait for the investigation to be completed.
Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!