In the aftermath of an injury car crash, once everyone who needs it has received medical attention, any documentation and evidence you can gather may make a huge difference in the success of your personal injury claim. The police report is a vital piece of evidence that can bolster your claim. The report can be used to determine negligence, liability, and who is at fault for the accident so you can prove your right to receive due compensation for damages and injuries. Let’s talk about the importance of this documentation, how it can help your case, and what you can do to obtain your copy if you’re involved in a Nashville auto collision.
Why Is the Police Report Important?
There are many factors that go into determining who is liable in a car accident, and insurance companies often raise disputes about who is at fault. The police report provides critical information about the crash that your attorney can use to demonstrate fault. Furthermore, insurance companies and the courts consider it to be authoritative in proving claims, so the police report is often one of the best tools used for diffusing disagreements as to liability.
What the Police Report Contains
The police report contains a wealth of information that may be helpful to your claim. First and foremost, it contains a full description of the accident and the resulting damage, as well as all relevant traffic violations. The driver’s accounts of the crash are recorded in detail as well as witness statements if there are any. The report will contain information about the damage done to each vehicle, as well as provide a list of injuries that may have been sustained as a result of the crash. The officer may include a diagram of the accident scene to show how the accident happened. In some cases, the police will also include an assessment of whether alcohol or drugs were present and their assessment of who was at fault. If weather, road conditions, or poor lighting were contributing factors in the crash, this might also be contained in the report.
Won’t I Get a Copy of the Police Report at the Accident Scene?
No. You may receive documentation from the officer(s) who responded to your accident, but it’s typically a “crash receipt” or an incident summary that documents the time/date of the accident, the parties involved, and possibly a few notes. The police will file their official report within a few days after the accident happens—and this is the detailed report you want a copy of. In Tennessee, police reports are generally available within 5-7 business days after the crash.
How to Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
The law enforcement agency that responds to your accident is the one responsible for providing the police report. While tracking down the report used to be a bit involved, modern technology has made it much easier. Several days after your car crash in Nashville, you can obtain a copy of your police report in any of the following ways:
- Online. This is currently the fastest and easiest way to get a police report for a small fee. Nashville Metro Police make their reports available through Crashdocs.org, as do several other area police departments. If Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) responded to your crash, they provide online copies directly from their site for $10.
- In person. If you know the law enforcement agency (and the specific precinct) that responded to your crash, you can often procure a copy for a small fee by going in person to the precinct and asking for the records division. For THP, go to the local district office.
- By mail or email. If you want to wait a few weeks and do things the old-fashioned way, most law enforcement agencies still offer police reports by mail. In Nashville, you would make this request by reaching out to the Central Records Division; for the THP, click here for instructions.
Have You Been Injured In A Tennessee Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 615.220.4180 to schedule your free consultation. We will schedule a time to meet with you at one of our offices in Smyrna, Nashville or Murfreesboro—whichever location is most convenient for you.