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Understanding Your Accident Report

In most cases, any insurance claim is going to rely on this accident report to assign blame and determine compensation and responsibility. There may also be serious legal ramifications. An accident report can often be difficult to understand, however, an experienced attorney can explain it all to you.

Information Included In Accident Reports:

Every police report related to an accident is going to include the basic facts. These are things which should not be in any real dispute, like:

  • Location, date, and time of the incident
  • Basic description or overview of what happened
  • Information about everyone involved (names, addresses, license numbers, etc…)
  • Names and addresses of the owner’s of the vehicles involved
  • License plate numbers of all involved vehicles
  • Insurance companies, policy numbers, and policy holders’ contact information.

Many motor vehicle accident reports can seem horribly confusing. The reason for this is because they were not written for you. Instead, they are written by police officers and meant to be used by other law enforcement professionals and the insurance companies. What normally happens is a whole lot of code is used, so that it almost feels like reading another language.

The best way to actually start understanding this report is to obtain the ‘key.’ This is just an explanation of the specific code being used. Unfortunately, this code and key will be different for every state. In other words, if your accident happened in North Carolina the report will probably look quite different from your brother’s who lives in Georgia.

Contributing Circumstances:

Once you have obtained the key and your accident report itself (this may involve a trip to the police station), the best place to start is the factual information. Next, focus on the contributing circumstances. This is where the officer will list anything like alcohol, drugs, even texting while driving. These contributing factors should help in determining who was at fault in your accident and will likely be used by the insurance company when conducting their own investigation and determination.

Another important reason to focus on this section is to ensure factual accuracy. If the officer has made any mistake, catching this early in the process is essential. We occasionally see a passenger who is left inadvertently off of the police report. If you can convince the officer as to what really happened, it is possible they may be able to fix it.

Consult Experienced Auto Accident Attorney:

The best way to really understand your accident report is to consult with an experienced auto accident attorney. They will be able to quickly and easily decipher all that code and explain exactly what it all means, in simple plain English. Ashenden Law is just such a firm, with a number of highly experienced legal professionals. Give them a call today for your free consultation.