Police Reports and Vehicle Accidents

If you’re involved in a vehicle accident in Kentucky that has caused injuries to you, your passengers or others, your head will be spinning. You need to contact the police so they can control the scene, get medical attention for those who need it and start investigating the accident. Though police reports normally can’t be used as evidence in these cases, they can be very helpful in indicating what needs to be investigated and as a basis to start settlement negotiations.

As part of their investigation the police will fill out a report of what happened. The officer serves as a neutral (if not always mistake-free) third party reporting on the accident as he or she observes the scene, which can serve as an important piece of your personal injury case. Though a personal injury case can proceed without a police report, it’s better to have one, and it should include the following:

  • Contact information for the other driver
  • Insurance information
  • The date and time of the accident
  • Names of possible witnesses and their contact information
  • Weather, lighting or road conditions that may have contributed to the accident
  • Whether one or both drivers were issued tickets
  • Whether there were skid marks or other physical evidence concerning the collision
  • A diagram of the accident
  • The officer’s observations of the scene.

The officer may or may not include in the report his or her opinions or conclusions about who is responsible for the accident. However the officer creating the report could be a valuable witness in the case. He or she may be called to testify and explain what the report shows and give his or her personal impressions of what happened.

If a police report has been done concerning your accident, you should request a copy of it. That can be done by calling whichever law enforcement agency responded to the scene.

If you disagree with something stated in the report and you believe there are factual inaccuracies, you may be able to get the report changed or amended. If you dispute the investigating officer’s findings or disagree with a statement from a witness or other driver, you probably can’t get that information altered. You could ask the law enforcement agency if you can provide your own statement and have it added to the report. There is no guarantee that they will agree with your request.

The vast majority of car accident lawsuits settle before a trial is concluded in the case. Police records can be very valuable in settlement negotiations.

  • The report will be the basis of our investigation into your case. We will also gather your medical reports, any other relevant police records and other evidence and draft a demand letter.
  • It summarizes the facts of the case, the applicable laws, describes each injury and how the injury impacts our client and demands compensation for those injuries.
  • If a police report indicates that the other driver or party was at fault or was issued a ticket or citation, this information may be used as leverage to help us reach a favorable settlement for you.

If you have an accident and call 911, there is no guarantee an officer will come to the scene. If the accident occurred during extreme weather or during a holiday when traffic is heavy and there are multiple accidents happening at about the same time, you may get a very delayed response or no response at all. An officer may come only if there is an injury or significant vehicle damage.

If that’s the case, as best you can, acting professionally and in no way antagonizing the other driver (as negligent as he or she may be), do what you can to do your own on-the-spot investigation. Exchange insurance and contact information. Take photos and videos of the scene. If there are witnesses or people on the scene, try to get their names and contact information.

Our investigations into our clients’ accidents are the foundations of their lawsuits.

Those investigations start with the police reports (or, if there isn’t one, we can use information obtained by our clients at the scene). They are very important documents; ultimately, however, if the case goes to trial it’s up to a jury, not the investigating officer, to decide who is responsible for the harm done in an accident.

If you or a loved one has been injured in Kentucky in an accident caused by a driver acting negligently, call the Julie Butcher Law Office at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form to talk about your case and your legal options.