One of the first steps you need to take following a motor vehicle crash in Missouri or Kansas is to contact the police at the scene. The at-fault driver may try to convince you not to because they do not want to receive another traffic ticket. However, you could significantly weaken your claim for compensation for your injuries if you do not take this crucial initial step.
Important Information in a Police Report That Can Help You Win Your Case
In order to hold the other motorist responsible for compensating you for your injuries, you must prove that their negligence caused your motor vehicle wreck. You do this by collecting evidence that proves this. The police report and the officer's testimony can help you convince the driver's insurance company of their liability.
When the police officer arrives at the scene, they will conduct an investigation by examining the damage to the vehicles, assessing the accident scene, and interviewing the drivers and witnesses. They will then write a report, which you should obtain a copy of to submit to the insurance company. The police report will contain a good deal of helpful information, including the following.
The police report will contain the contact information for the negligent driver and their insurance company, which you will need to file your claim. It should also include the contact information for any witnesses to the crash. If possible, you should also collect this information yourself while you are waiting for the police to arrive. It is especially important to know how to contact witnesses to the collision who may not want to wait for the police or may not be interviewed by the officer.
Details of Your Crash
The police report will include the law enforcement official's accounting of how your crash occurred. This can include the following:
- Date, time, and place of the collision
- Vehicles and drivers involved in the crash
- Weather and road conditions
- Summary of how the accident occurred
- Officer's conclusions as to who caused the accident
The police will interview you and the other driver. Their report could include damaging statements made by the other driver that can help you prove that they caused your collision.
Hopefully, the officer will interview witnesses who saw the collision as it was happening and include their statements in the police report. Their statements can help the police determine who was at fault in causing the collision, especially if the at-fault motorist denies that they did anything wrong.
In addition, witness statements can be compelling evidence to show the insurance adjuster. If they are independent witnesses who do not know any of the drivers and have no stake in your claim, their testimony could be very persuasive in convincing the insurance company and a jury, if your case goes to trial, of the other motorist's fault in causing the crash.
The police report will include information about the damages to the motor vehicles involved in the wreck. It should state where the damage was to each vehicle and may include a diagram that shows how the other truck, auto, or motorcycle struck yours.
If anyone was injured in the accident, this information should be included in the police report. If it was necessary to call an ambulance to the scene, the officer will note this as well.
If any traffic laws were violated, the police could issue a traffic ticket to the driver. The police report will include information as to whether a traffic citation was issued and what traffic laws were broken.
What Happens If You Do Not Call the Police?
If you do not contact the police at the collision scene because you did not realize you were hurt, this does not prevent you from filing a claim with the negligent driver's insurance company. However, you may have a much harder time convincing them of your right to compensation for your injuries. They could argue the following:
- The accident never occurred.
- You were at fault or partially to blame for the crash.
- You did not suffer injuries in the collision, or they were not very serious.
You may have to collect evidence, such as eyewitness statements, surveillance videos, and a report from an accident reconstruction expert, to defeat these and other arguments the insurance company could use to deny your claim or to pay you less than you are entitled to under Kansas or Missouri law.
Have You Been Injured in a Kansas City Area Motor Vehicle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you need to speak with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible. It will cost you nothing to hire us because we handle these cases on a contingency fee basis where you only pay us if we win your case. We will also front the costs and fees you could incur. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.