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The Importance of Police Reports After an Accident in Seattle
After a car accident, you can incur some serious losses, including medical expenses, lost wages, and vehicle repairs. Washington laws allow injured drivers to claim compensation from the person responsible for their accidents, either through a lawsuit or insurance claim. During both legal pathways, you will need to prove your right to damages using all available evidence, including the police report.
Your accident’s police report is one of the most important pieces of evidence you can use to support your insurance claim or lawsuit. Without it, you can struggle to prove that your accident happened, and it can be even more difficult to prove the other driver is responsible for the crash. For more information about your lawsuit, contact a Seattle car accident lawyer at Colburn Law today.
What Is a Police Report?
After a car accident, someone will typically call 911 to have law enforcement respond to the scene of the crash. Whenever the department dispatches an officer to examine a collision, he or she will create a report based on the information present at the scene.
The officer will gather evidence to create a report, which may include the following details.
- The time, date, and location of the accident
- Statements from all drivers involved and witnesses in the area
- Contact and insurance information for drivers and witnesses
- Descriptions of any injuries sustained in the crash
- Descriptions of property or vehicle damage in the crash
- Tickets issued to drivers at the scene
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the crash
- Photographs of the accident site, vehicle damage, and injuries
The officer will also list the series of events that led up to the crash and may provide his or her professional opinion on who was responsible. However, not all police reports will identify a liable party.
Additional Information: What To Do If You Have Been Wrongfully Accused of a Car Accident
Police Reports in Crash Investigations in Washington State
Police reports contain documented proof that you were in an accident and that you suffered the injuries and property damage you are claiming compensation for. You can use the report as evidence to establish your version of events and the at-fault driver’s liability, especially if the officer believes he or she is liable. You may be able to ask the officer to testify on your behalf if you choose to pursue a lawsuit over your injuries.
In addition, these reports are an essential part of obtaining the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. If you decide to pursue an insurance claim, the insurance company will hire an adjuster to investigate your accident. The adjuster will ask you for the police report as part of your investigation, and if you cannot produce one, he or she can use this as justification to dismiss your claim.
How to Obtain a Washington Police Report
Washington State Patrol (WSP) oversees all collision reports pertaining to accidents that occur in the state. After your accident, you can obtain the report from WSP either online or by mail.
To obtain your report online, follow these steps.
- Visit the Washington State Patrol Requests for Electronic Collision Records (WRECR) system.
- Enter your name, the date of the collision, and press “Search.”
- The system will display your report if it exists in the database.
- Pay a $10.50 fee to complete your transaction and receive a non-redacted copy of the record.
If you wish to obtain a copy of your report by mail, take the following steps.
- Complete a Request for Copy of Collision Report Form.
- Write a check or money order for $10.50 payable to Washington State Patrol.
- Mail your completed form and fee to the following address:
Washington State Patrol
Collision Records Section
P.O. Box 42628
Olympia, WA 98504-2628
Car accident claims can be difficult to navigate without an attorney on your side. After calling 911 and receiving medical attention for your injuries, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will explain your legal options and help you strategize your next steps.