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Filing a Police Report Following an Auto Accident

“Do we need to file a police reporter? Should we just go?”

This is a very common question that arises following an automobile accident. The fact of the matter is that a police report is a very key piece of evidence that is necessary or even required under Michigan law following an auto accident. Many people are unaware of the detail that goes into a Michigan police report and the necessity for making a police report following an accident in Michigan.

Why File a Police Report?

Under Michigan law if there is damage to the vehicles that exceeds $1000 you are required by law to stay at the scene of the accident and call the police to make a police report. Additionally, if there has been an injury or death as a result of an accident you are required to stay at the scene of the accident. If you fail to stay at the scene of an injury accident, you may be charged with a felony for hit and run which is punishable by up to 15 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Therefore, never leave the scene of an accident before filing a police report or exchanging information with the other driver. Quite frankly, it is for your own protection for many reasons.

Additionally, your auto insurance company may require you, under certain circumstances, to make a police report in order to obtain benefits. Many insurance companies require that a police report be made within 24 hours of the date and time of the accident.

A police report also gives an independent determination of fault by the police officer. While this determination of fault may not be admissible in court, it provides a basis by which you can proceed forward with discussions with your insurance company, and/or the other driver’s insurance company. It provides a baseline upon which the rest of the case will proceed.

What is Contained in a Michigan Police Report?

  • Date and time of the accident
  • Location of the accident
  • A diagram of how the accident happened
  • Witness statements
  • Witness identification
  • Insurance information for all parties involved
  • A preliminary observation of injuries
  • The name and address of all parties
  • Information on owner of the vehicles involved in the accident if different than the driver
  • Road type
  • Weather information

All of the above are key factors that will be examined should a lawsuit ever get filed as a result of your accident.

Essentially, if there was no police report made, then any party can say anything about how the accident happened without any without any real proof other than the damage to the vehicles.

How Do I Obtain a Copy of My Police Report?

When a police report is made, the police officer investigating will generally give each of the parties a business card that will show your police report or incident number as well as information on how to obtain a police report. Most police agencies have an online system by which you can obtain your police report. That information should be on the business card that is handed to you following the making of your police report. Police reports are generally available within 72 hours of the time of the accident. In cases that involve crimes and/or fatalities (auto accidents that result in a death), a final police report can take over 6 months to obtain. This is due to the fact that a formal investigation/reconstruction of the accident must be performed.  This often includes blood tests through the State Police.

What if The Police Report is Wrong?

Crash scenes are very chaotic situations. Often, the police officer investigating can improperly take down information and/or forget to include information. It is very common for a police officer to forget to put the name and address of all witnesses and passengers in the vehicles involved in the accident. If you find that your police report is wrong, you can proceed to the police agency that investigated your accident to tell them what is wrong with your police report and request to have it changed. Interestingly, these requests are often granted and, likewise, often denied.  Results vary greatly between police departments.

If you have been involved in an automobile accident in which you sustained injury, it is important that you have the proof necessary to go forward with your case. A police report is an essential piece of that proof. It is also important to make sure to obtain witness information if it all possible at the scene of the accident. Do not rely upon the police to accurately take down information. If someone walks up to you and says, “I saw the whole thing”, take down their name and phone number at a minimum.

Your next step is to call the experienced attorneys of Femminineo Law. For over 27 years, the lawyers of Femminineo Law have been representing victims of injury accidents throughout Michigan. You can call us right now at 855.65.CRASH or contact us.

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Femminineo Law, PLLC is Michigan’s finest personal injury firm. He has succeeded in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of highway accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, and for wrongful death matters throughout the State of Michigan.

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