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What You Should Know About Car Accidents & Police Reports

When you get into a car accident, your initial thoughts will likely revolve around safety. However, once you’ve established the well-being of yourself and your passengers, you’ll need to consider the legal aspects of the situation, such as filing a police report. To prepare for a future collision or learn more about a recent one, consult the following frequently asked questions before meeting with a car accident attorney

4 FAQ About Car Accidents & Police Reports

When is a police report necessary?

In Wisconsin, you’re required to contact the police if your accident meets certain criteria. For example, you need to file a police report if the collision resulted in injuries or death involving people or wildlife. You should also file a report if a vehicle must be towed, there’s at least $1,000 of damage to someone’s property, or if there’s at least $200 in damage to government property.

What information does the police report contain?

The police report will contain the attending officer’s account of the incident. It will start with basic information like the date, time, and location, current weather conditions, the contact information of involved parties, and witness information and statements. It will also discuss damage to the involved vehicles and surrounding property, issued citations or traffic law violations, and a diagram of the accident.

Is the report restricted to factual information?

In addition to straight facts about the event, the police officer may also include their own professional opinions in the report. For example, they may state what they believe the cause of the accident to be—such as a fallen tree or an inebriated driver. They may also state who they believe to be at fault, and why.

How will the police report be used?

Since insurance companies will be responsible for compensating drivers for damages related to the accident, they will immediately ask for the police report upon hearing about the collision. They may use information about the traffic conditions or issued citations in the report to conduct their investigation. While the police report is often used to negotiate a settlement, it is not always admissible as evidence in a lawsuit, as it could be considered the officer’s own opinion, or “hearsay.”

If you were involved in a collision and need a car accident attorney to help you navigate the aftermath, turn to Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Associates, LLC today. While they’ve been helping drivers in La Crosse, WI, for over 20 years, they have over 100 years of combined experience and have won over $90 million for their clients. To schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney, call (877) 784-1230, and visit the website to learn more about their services.