Once you’ve been in an automobile accident, specific steps need to happen in the aftermath to ensure you and the other drivers have the necessary information to receive compensation if a claim needs to be filed. One of the most reliable ways to ensure you have the details required to file a successful claim is by completing an accident report with the police. The details of an accident report will include vital information from the scene, including a synopsis of how the accident happened. To be accepted as credible, an accident report needs to be filed within a reasonable period after the collision, and it needs to be handled through the proper channels.
What You Should Know About Filing a Car Accident Report
After a motor vehicle accident, the police usually arrive at the scene to assist, ensure safety, and investigate the collision. Once they’ve completed their responsibilities at the scene, they will file a collision report. To complete the accident report, they will interview you and other drivers about the details of the accident. They may also call if they have follow-up questions.
According to New Hampshire law, any motor vehicle accident that led to property damage exceeding $1,000, injury, or death requires an accident report. While most drivers assume the police provide all accident or collision reports, that’s not always the cause. If the police didn’t arrive at the scene, but you are required by law to have a collision report on file, you can complete what is known as an operator’s report.
Five Things Every Collision Report Should Include
New Hampshire DMV regulations require all collision reports to be on file within 15 days of the motor vehicle accident. Drivers who plan to seek insurance compensation may need to submit an operator’s report in advance of the police report. It can take weeks before the official police report is filed. An accurate and complete collision report is an important first step if you plan to file a claim for compensation after a car accident. New Hampshire law gives drivers three years from the date of the collision to file a car accident claim.
- Witness Interviews: The names and contact information of everyone at the scene are important. Most people only see what happened from their perspective, and it’s important to get the accounts of others at the scene who may have seen the crash from a different angle.
- Collision Description: Details from the scene are important. The collision report should include how the accident occurred. As much information as you can remember should be included, like the date and time, the weather at the time, and even the surroundings. Was the road in good condition? Was there a detour that day? Include every detail you notice; you never know what will be important.
- Collision Scene Photos: The report should include photos of all damages to your car and person. For example, if you can take photos of your vehicle and personal injuries like bruises and scars, it can help as you may forget later. You can have these photos included in the official police report by following up with law enforcement. You may also want to take some photos of the scene if you think it would provide context for those reviewing the details of the case.
- Driver Information: Collect information from all the drivers involved in your collision. You don’t know who is at fault immediately following an accident, and you may feel you are the injured party. It’s good to have contact information for everyone at the scene. Make sure to collect phone numbers, names, addresses, vehicle information, and any vehicle inconsistencies you notice that aren’t accident related. For example, was their windshield cracked before the accident? Did you notice their lights weren’t on? Details are important.
- Police Information: If a police officer arrives at the scene, ask for their name and badge number. If they have a card, take it.
Call Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. to Schedule a Consultation Today!
If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle accident, the attorneys at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. can meet with you today to review the details of your case. We have more than two decades of experience handling cases just like yours. Make us your first call before contacting the insurance company. We can help you get the compensation you are owed. Call us at (603) 288-1403or contact us online to get started today.