A favorable car accident report can help you get more money from your auto insurance settlements. To increase your chances of getting money for car damages and/or personal injuries from an insurance company, you need to show that the other driver was at fault for your collision. You can find this information in your traffic accident report.
(To understand why the police reports are important, Read Car Accident Reports : How They Increase Your Compensation in Auto Insurance Claims. )
Here is a traffic accident report from when my aunt was in a collision in New Jersey. I have highlighted which sections you should focus on.
The description of the auto accident is the first thing you should read. This description is written by the police officers at the car accident scene , after talking with both drivers.
You have two goals when you are reading the description,
- Check if the report contains accurate information about how your collision happened.
- Find information that shows who was at fault for the collision.
Here is the description that was written down for this collision:
Accident Description From Driver 1
Driver #1 states that she was traveling east on Green Street and stopped waiting to enter Route 9 South when her vehicle was struck in the rear by Vehicle 2.
Accident Description From Driver 2
Driver #2 states that he was traveling East on Green Street and was stopped behind Veh #1. Drv#2 also states that he looked left at Route 9 South Traffic and then looked forward at Vehicle #1.
Driver #2 then edged forward seeing no traffic. Driver #2 states he looked left again and seeing no traffic he proceeded to move thinking Vehicle #1 had moved out onto Route 9.
Driver #2 then looked forward and at this time he saw vehicle #1 still stopped and he applied his brakes but could not stop in time. Driver #2 also states that he observed Vehicle #1 moving when he first looked left.
Investigation reveals from impact and statement that operator #2 caused this crash by being inattentive to Vehicle #1 by looking left and assuming that she merged onto Route 9 South when she was still stopped and waiting
My aunt was driver #1. As you can tell from the car accident report, driver #2 caused the collision. You should also notice the favorable language the officer used in the police report.
This report clearly showed that my aunt was not responsible for the car crash. She contacted the other driver’s insurance company to file her claims and was compensated for her car damages within a few weeks. (Read
Starting Your Insurance Claims the Right Way ).
Drawing of Accident
The drawing of the crash can also reinforce your story. From the picture you can see:
- The position and direction of each driver’s vehicle
- Name of the road and traffic flow
- Traffic Yield Sign
Having these details helps anyone reading the car accident report visualize how the collision happened. Combining the crash description and accident picture helps make your claim stronger.
Check if the other driver was given an alcohol or drug test at the crash scene. This would show that the other driver’s judgment was impaired and would make him/her more responsible.
You also have the other drivers VIN number listed. If the other driver is the owner of the car, you can use the VIN number to do a background check on his vehicle. This will let you know how many previous accidents the other driver has been in.
This is useful, especially when the police reports don’t indicate who was at fault for the crash. If the other driver has repeatedly been involved in collisions, it certainly doesn’t portray him as a safe driver.
You have the reporting officers badge numbers. This is useful in case the police report is inaccurate or unfavorable towards you. You should call the precinct and get the officers contact information. Once you contact the officers, explain to them that you are trying to file an auto insurance claim and wanted to discuss what’s in the report.
Most officers, will not be willing to change what’s in the report. They’re too busy and do not want to get involved. Your goal is not to change the report, but see how confident the officers are of everything written in the report.
For example, you may have taken some pictures at the car accident scene that point out a detail the police reports missed. Maybe there was an obstruction in the road or traffic sign that was not noted.
You can offer the officers some alternative explanation of what actually caused the accident. You don’t have to completely convince them. If the officers are willing to accept your version as possible, then you have at least neutralized the bad or inaccurate car accident report. The report doesn’tt help you but it will also not hurt you.
Understanding which sections to focus on in the car accident report can help you get more money for your car damages and personal injury settlements. It is good to get a copy of the report from the precinct so you can assess how your collision would be viewed by the insurance company. You can then plan accordingly on how to use the report.
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