If you were just in a car accident in Arkansas, you might need to file a police report. Whether you’ll be using insurance or filing a lawsuit for your injuries, a police report is a vital part of ensuring you can prove your accident happened, and prove which parties were involved. While you can file a crash report on your own, the best way to have a report filed after an accident is to call the police or hire an attorney.
Fayetteville, Arkansas car accident attorney Ken Kieklak can help you file a crash report, fight insurance companies for compensation, and take your car accident case to court. If you were severely injured, you should have a lawyer on your side in the aftermath of a car accident. Even injuries like whiplash may make you eligible for compensation. Having a lawyer help you with your case can ensure that you aren’t tricked into ignoring your possibilities, and have all the tools, like police reports, to help prove your injury case.
Calling the Police After a Car Crash
The best way to get an official report of your crash is to call the police. After the accident, make sure that everyone is okay in your car, and do your best to get to a safe location. Once you are safe, call the police. Especially if you or someone else in the accident is severely injured, you’ll need to call 9-1-1 anyway to get an ambulance or other emergency medical services. Most 9-1-1 dispatchers send police to the scene of a car accident, even if you only ask for EMS.
Once the police officer is there, he will gather the information necessary for filing a police report. You may be asked to provide information like your name, address, phone number, drivers’ license number, license plate number, insurance information, and information about the crash. Be honest about all information you can provide. If there is any information you are scared to admit, such as admitting you were partly responsible for the crash, say you’d like to talk to your attorney before answering any other questions.
Arkansas law, like the laws of most states, requires you to submit an accident report if there was serious property damage or injury in a car accident. Even if you are scared to report the accident, you must submit an accident report if there was:
- Property damage worth more than $1,000,
- Bodily injury, or
- Death from a car accident.
If you report your accident to police, the police officer’s report will likely be available within 10 days. You, your attorney, or your insurance company can file a request with the Arkansas State Police to get all of the information in a copy of their police report.
Reporting a Car Accident Yourself
You can report a car accident yourself – but it is not recommended. First, having a police officer see the accident scene means having an extra witness who can testify for you in court. If you were the victim of this accident, a police officer may be able to explain what they saw at the scene and why the other driver was at fault. Waiting and filing on your own means losing this valuable witness – and any photos the officer might have taken.
If you file your own report, you may miss information you’ll need. After an accident, even if a police officer responds, you should make your own list of important information. This means getting the following from all drivers and passengers involved in the crash:
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers;
- License plate, make, model, year, and vehicle registration information;
- Information on the car owner, if it isn’t the driver; and
- Drivers’ license and insurance information for all drivers.
You will also need information on the location of the accident, lighting conditions, injuries, fatalities, and other information.
Collecting this information yourself, especially after an accident, can be difficult. If you or a loved one was injured, your priority should be medical attention, not information-gathering. If you do collect this information and want to file a report yourself, you can use the Arkansas Motor Vehicle Accident Report form SR-1, available online or from the police. An attorney can file this on your behalf, or help you complete it. Alternatively, the police can file their own report and help you gather this information later.
If you call your insurance company or speak to an attorney, they will likely want all this information. If you choose to file an accident report on your own, be prepared for an intense amount paperwork. Otherwise, let an attorney and the police handle your accident reporting.
Fayetteville, Arkansas Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a car accident, it is important to talk to an attorney about your case. You may have options for compensation beyond filing with your insurance company. The information in a police report for a car accident can be very important if you take your case to court. Fayetteville personal injury attorney Ken Kieklak may be able to help. Call (479) 439-1843 today for a free consultation on your car accident injury case.