If you're involved in an auto collision, your first steps are to seek prompt medical care if you suffered apparent injuries, and to call the police to the accident scene. You need to do this even if you believe your injuries and vehicle damages are minor.
In the immediate aftermath of the incident, you might not realize how seriously you're injured or the full extent of the crash. By contacting the police right away, you're taking the proper action to protect your legal rights if you need to file a claim for compensation with the negligent driver’s insurance company.
What the Police Do at Your Crash Scene
It's stressful to suffer injuries in a sudden car accident that wasn't your fault.
You also might not know all the necessary procedures to gather helpful evidence to reinforce your case against the other parties responsible for the crash.
Fortunately, members of law enforcement may take these actions for you when they come to the crash scene to investigate your accident and summon aid for injured victims.
Here are some things the police do to help you:
- Take photographs. An officer will take photographs of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles from many different angles. This can be helpful to you if the other driver denies liability for the accident and you need to present these facts to his insurance adjuster or retain an accident reconstruction expert to create a reenactment of what occurred.
- Interview witnesses. Officers interview witnesses to your accident and obtain their statements and contact information. However, there's no guarantee the police will interview all witnesses, so you also need to obtain their contact information so this vital evidence isn't lost.
- Conduct an investigation. Law enforcement personnel conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the accident. If he suspects the other driver is intoxicated, he'll administer field sobriety tests that could lead to the driver’s arrest for DUI. When writing his police report, the police officer includes a narration of how the crash occurred and who was at fault. His conclusions can help settle your claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company or would be persuasive with the jury if you must take your case to trial.
- Issue citations. If the other driver violated traffic laws or was intoxicated, the police officer issues a citation noting the traffic law violation, or arrests him. These actions can also help establish the other person’s negligence in causing your wreck.
- Write a police report. The officer on the scene writes a detailed police report you need when filing a claim with the insurance company. It contains crucial details of the processes described above that help prove your right to injury compensation.
Even if you have a police report that clearly states how the other driver caused your wreck, his insurance company could still fight to reduce or even deny your claim. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to protect your legal rights and the compensation you deserve.
Call our Kansas City office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you. We represent clients in both Kansas and Missouri.