Being in a car accident can be a disconcerting experience. In the immediate aftermath of the collision, you must make sure that you, any passengers, and the other driver are physically okay, and, if not, request emergency medical assistance.
The next major issue is evaluating the property damage. You will, of course, want to examine the damage done to both vehicles to gauge how much this is likely to cost you in time and dollars. Furthermore, you should determine if any other property, including public and private, suffered any damage. You should use your phone to photograph the visible damage.
Finally, you will need to obtain the information of the parties involved and any witnesses. You should notify the police about the accident. If the police arrive on the scene, they should document all of the pertinent details. (If the police can’t come, document as much as you can and visit the nearest police station to file a report.)
Read on about how to get a copy of the police report after the accident, and why it’s so important for your potential personal injury case.
How to Get a Police Report in Louisiana
Every jurisdiction in Louisiana is slightly different, but the general procedure of obtaining an accident police report should be the same.
Many cities offer police records through an online request system. If you visit the official government website of the jurisdiction that the accident occurred in, you should be able to find out if they offer police records online.
The officer on the scene should have provided you with a report identification number which you may need to submit at the time of the request.
If you cannot get a police report off of the internet, you may always request one in person. You only need to find out where the records division of the local police is located and visit it to request the report.
Be sure to call ahead to ensure that the report has been filed; Louisiana law dictates that police reports should be filed promptly, but it still may take a few days following the accident for the report to enter the system.
Also, the time old tradition of regular postal mail might do the trick. Mailing in a request for the accident report might be necessary, particularly in less populous areas.
Be prepared to pay a fee at the time of the request. If you are unsure how much the fees are or in what form payment can be made, visit the police website or call ahead.
What You Should Do with an Accident Police Report
In the official accident police report you should find key information, including:
- Date, time, location of accident
- Drivers’ names and license numbers
- Vehicle descriptions
- Party and witness statements
A police report should be an unbiased account of the accident which is why insurance companies and the courts often rely on them to make determinations of fault.
An accident police report is not automatically submitted to insurance companies, so when you receive your police report, you should make a copy and send it on to your insurer.
Once your insurer gets the accident police report, they will initiate an investigation. Once the facts of the case are confirmed, your insurer may use the accident police report to bolster their position in negotiations with other insurance companies or during a trial.
Let the Jones Law Firm to Handle Your Accident Case
Having recovered more than $5 million for our clients, the Jones Law Firm is dedicated to helping Louisiana families with their personal injury cases. Whether you want a fair settlement from an insurer or you want to take your case to trial, get the Jones Law Firm on your team. Contact us to schedule your consultation.