Obtaining a Police Report in DC
Police reports in the District of Columbia are offered in a few different forms. The critical issue is whether a person reports injuries at the scene of the accident and requires the services of an ambulance. If the person requires the use of an ambulance, then one type of police report is created. If the parties do not appear injured to the police officer, then another type of exchange of information report is created. If any accident reconstruction is necessary, then yet another type of police report is created. The police report needs to be requested directly from the investigating officer’s briefings; this can be done by a car accident attorney or by the injured person directly.
How to Obtain a Police Report in DC
Typically, a person has to request a police report from the responding police officer’s individual precinct. There is usually a fee associated with reproducing and supplying the report. If the injured person retains a personal injury attorney, the attorney can obtain the report on behalf of his or her client.
Information Available in a Police Report
Some of the information contained in a police report depends upon the type of report collected and the nature of the incident involved.
However, in general, the police report contains basic information about the identities of the parties involved in the occurrence. Although the reports do not determine who is at fault for the accident, meaning if the report cites one driver over the other, this typically is not dispositive of the liability issue in a civil case. Police reports can still the parties involved understand how that incident occurred and can lead the investigation in a certain way.
Simply because a police officer cites one person at fault, it does not mean that they are in fact at fault and that their insurance company must pay. In fact, it really has no bearing on the ultimate liability question.
Value of Obtaining a Report
It is important to obtain a police report in the District of Columbia, because the report will provide basic information, including, the parties involved in the collision, the location of the collision, as well as ownership issues of the vehicles involved in the collision. Some people may rely heavily upon the officer’s explanation in the report on how the accident occurred and the assessment of fault, if any. The police report is the initial report of each party’s version of events. The police report is generally not admissible at trial, it cannot be used to establish liability nor is it concrete evidence as to who is at fault for the collision.
Ways a Lawyer Can Help in DC
A personal injury attorney can expedite obtaining a police report due to his or her experience in the process. He or she knows the procedure by which the report is obtained and can expedite payment in obtaining the police report. Someone who does not have any experience dealing with the police may not understand the most efficient way to go about the process. Having a lawyer with years of experience practicing injury law in DC is very valuable.