Vehicle accidents can be confusing and stressful experiences for those involved. This is particularly true when individuals who sustain injuries or property damage are working to secure compensation from insurance carriers. In the aftermath of a vehicle accident, one of the most important pieces of documentation you will need is the police report. Nearly every vehicle accident that occurs in Illinois has to be reported to law enforcement officials so they can conduct an initial investigation and fill out the accident report. Here, our experienced car accident lawyers want to discuss why this report is so important.
What is on the Police Report After an Accident?
Police reports will provide a multitude of information related to the accident. This can include the following:
- The owners and operators of the vehicles involved
- The names of any witnesses at the scene
- The insurance companies of the drivers involved
- And make, model, and VIN number of the vehicles involved
- The driving conditions at the time of the accident
- Where each person was seated in the vehicle and if they sustained any visible injuries
- Traffic court dates for any citations
- Possible causes of the crash
- Possible determinations of fault
The Police Report for Insurance Carrier Claims
The vast majority of all vehicle accident claims in Illinois will be resolved through a settlement with insurance carriers. However, insurance carriers are going to need to see the police report before they make any determination about fault or compensation.
To be clear, there will certainly be other types of evidence that insurance carriers will use when making a determination about how to proceed forward with a claim. However, the police report really does make the incident “official.” When a crash is not reported to the police, and when there is no police report, individuals involved often find that insurance carriers are much harder to deal with.
The Police Report and Personal Injury Lawsuits
In the event an insurance carrier denies a claim or fails to provide a fair settlement amount to victims involved, personal injury lawsuits may become necessary. In these cases, this means that the claim will enter the civil court system and will begin with the discovery process. In general, we will find that attorneys for both sides will exchange information and continue their investigation. One of the pieces of evidence that will be used by the attorneys in these cases is the police report.
Negotiations for a fair settlement amount will also continue during this process. However, if the at-fault party and their insurance carrier still refuse to offer a fair settlement, the injury victim may be forced to take the case all the way to a personal injury jury. In these situations, one of the pieces of evidence that an injury victim and their attorney may use is the police report. However, the police report can also be used by the other party, particularly if there is any documentation that could back up their claim.
You Need to Report Car Accidents in Illinois
Nearly every car crash that occurs in the state of Illinois is going to be considered a “reportable accident.” Specifically, any vehicle accident that results in one of the following must be reported to the police:
- The death of any party involved
- Bodily injury of any party involved
- Property damage of $1,500 or more ($500 or more if a vehicle is uninsured)