When you’re driving, you may feel as though you’re invincible. Sure, car accidents happen—but never to you. Unfortunately, car accidents in Charlotte do happen, way more than you may even realize.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation found that there were 276,026 car accidents in the year 2021 alone, which resulted in 114,722 injuries. Not only are these numbers shocking, they are both up from the year prior.
After being involved in a car accident, you should always report it to the police, even if the other party asks you not to. You’ve probably heard that countless times, but are you really sure why it’s so important? A police report plays a crucial role in car accident claims as it captures essential details and information about the incident. It serves as an official record of the accident, documenting the facts, observations, and conclusions made by the responding law enforcement officer. Without one, you may have a much more difficult time getting your insurance company to compensate you.
Even more importantly, you are required by law to notify law enforcement of a reportable accident, which is any accident that causes injury, death, or property damage over $1,000.
What’s in a police report?
Once you call the police after an accident, they will come out to conduct an investigation. At the end of their investigation, they will submit an official police report with important details about the accident. This will include:
- Basic information about the accident. The accident police report includes essential information about the accident, such as the date, time, and location of the collision. It also provides the names and contact information of the individuals involved, including drivers and passengers. The report describes the vehicles involved in the accident and documents the damages they suffered.
- Witness statements and testimonies. The police talk to witnesses at the accident scene who provide statements describing what they saw. These witness statements are included in the report and help provide a clearer understanding of how the accident happened. The police also collect the contact information of the witnesses for future reference.
- Officer’s observations and conclusions. The responding police officer aims to determine fault by analyzing the evidence and their observations. If possible, the officer includes their conclusion about fault in the report, which helps insurance companies and legal professionals understand the responsibility of each party involved.
- Diagrams and photographs. The police officer may also use diagrams and photographs to visualize the accident. Diagrams depict the direction of travel, lanes, and other pertinent details, while photographs capture the physical damages, vehicle positions, and overall scene condition. These visual aids provide a clearer understanding of the accident’s dynamics.
- Any citations or charges issued. The police officer may also issue citations or charges to those who violated any traffic laws. This involves giving them official tickets or legal notices. These citations or charges are recorded in the police report, indicating if someone acted unlawfully or was responsible for the accident due to their actions.
You can read your own car accident report after it has been completed, but it can be pretty overwhelming. That’s why working with a skilled car accident attorney can be beneficial.
Police accident reports show proof and help determine liability
The main reasons police reports are so important in a Charlotte car accident claim are because they provide proof of the accident and help the car insurance company determine who was liable. When you have both of these things, insurance companies find it a little easier to provide the compensation you need to cover the costs of your injuries and damages. By relying on the police report, insurance companies can make informed decisions regarding liability. By analyzing the facts presented in the report, insurance companies determine which party is responsible for the accident and the resulting damages or injuries. This means if they deemed the opposing party responsible, the opposing party will also be considered the ones who are financially responsible for the damages and injuries.
They are even more important during negotiations
During settlement negotiations, insurance adjusters rely on the report’s factual and objective information to assess the extent of damages and injuries sustained in the accident, which ultimately leads to negotiating a fair settlement. This helps them determine the appropriate compensation that should be offered to the affected parties.
Insurance companies can refer to specific sections of the report that highlight key details, such as the officer’s assessment of fault, witness statements, and any supporting evidence collected at the scene. This strengthens their position and facilitates productive negotiations with the other insurance companies involved. The report’s objective nature also provides a basis for negotiations, ensuring that the settlement reached takes into account the extent of damages and the responsibilities of each party.
Working with an experienced Charlotte car accident attorney can help even more
An experienced car accident attorney understands the value of the accident police report in insurance claim negotiations. They present the report as a strong supporting document that provides objective information about the accident. By leveraging the report’s details, such as the officer’s assessment of fault and witness statements, the attorney will strengthen your case. The attorney will also use this report to counter any attempts by the insurance company to downplay the client’s injuries or shift liability.
A skilled car accident attorney also has negotiation strategies where they advocate for maximum compensation. They also understand how to effectively communicate with insurance adjusters, presenting persuasive arguments based on the evidence and legal principles. Throughout the negotiation process, attorneys remain vigilant in protecting their client’s rights and best interests, ensuring they are not taken advantage of by the insurance company.
If you sustained injuries or other damages in a car accident, reach out to the team at Price, Petho & Associates. Our car accident attorneys are ready and more than willing to work directly with both your and the other party’s insurance companies in order to maximize the amount of compensation. Insurance companies will try to do anything they can to try to downplay your injuries or pay out significantly less money than what you will need to recover—that’s why you should never try to take on a claim like this on your own. Let our team of attorneys help you achieve a favorable settlement so you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses. To schedule a free consultation, fill out our contact form today. We have offices in Charlotte, Rockingham, and Rutherfordton.