- Should I call 911 after a car accident?
According to our car accident lawyers, you should always call 911 after a car accident. A police officer is going to get dispatched to the crash scene when you call 911. Once the officer arrives, he is going to create two documents: a Crash Exchange Form and a Police Report.
• What are the two different police forms?
The Crash Exchange Form includes the name and address of both parties as well as the name of the insurance carriers. The officer will provide both parties with a copy of the form at the scene. This form will tell your car accident lawyer what insurance company he’s going to be dealing with. He will know where the defendant needs to be served with a Summons and Complaint if he needs to file a lawsuit.
The Police Report is going to include a narrative of how the crash occurred and who’s at fault. The officer is going to base those determinations on his conversations with the parties at the scene. The officer is going to type up the report once he returns to the police station. This form is important because the insurance adjuster is going to defer to the police officer’s opinion concerning who’s at fault. Our car accident lawyers explain that, while the officer’s opinion is not dispositive, it is going to have a serious impact on whether the insurance adjuster accepts liability. This is crucial when it comes time to negotiate the claim.
• What’s is the risk of not having a police report?
The police officer will not respond and neither of these forms will be created if 911 is not called. The insurance adjuster is going to have to weigh who’s telling the truth. The case becomes a “he said, she said.” It has been our experience that the driver is much more likely to lie to his insurance adjuster than to the responding police officer’s face.
- Should I take photos at the scene?
You should always take photos at the scene. Documenting the point of impact is very important because your car accident lawyer can use that evidence to reconstruct the crash. The point of impact photos are objective proof of how the crash occurred if the case is a “he said, she said.”
If you forget to take photos, rest assured that your property damage adjuster is going to take his own photos. Photos will be taken as part of the repair estimate. The defendant’s vehicle is also going to be photographed. However, you’re not entitled to those photos during the insurance claim portion of the case. You’re only entitled to them in litigation. So, it is a good idea to take photos of the defendant’s car at the scene.
• How can photos prove who’s being truthful?
It is also important to photograph the final position of both vehicles. Just like the point of impact, the location of where the vehicles came to rest speaks volumes about how the crash occurred. Unless the crash is catastrophic, the responding officer rarely takes photos. Police photos are only taken if an accident investigator needs to examine the scene.
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