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How to read your Illinois car accident report

Car accident attorneys

If you were involved in a crash, the police most likely conducted an investigation and documented the critical details. You can obtain a copy of your car accident report at the Illinois Department of Transportation website. Before you obtain a copy of your crash report, you may have some questions about what information is documented. That's why our law firm has provided a comprehensive guide on how to read your two-page Illinois crash report.

The crash report compiled by police will include details that can used to help you build a solid legal claim. For example, an arrest or citation will indicate that the at-fault driver violated the law. The crash report will also include other important contributory factors.

Page one of your car accident report — the essential details

The first page of your crash report will include:

  • Units 1 and 2: Unit 1 will contain the date and time of your crash, the location, and the name of the agency who investigated the crash. The boxes contained in Units 1 and 2 document information on:
    • The drivers and cars involved in the crash
    • Insurance information of both drivers
    • Driver's license numbers
    • Reported injuries or hospitalizations
  • Lower section: The lower section of page one will include contact information of up to five passengers or witnesses. Below that, you can find information regarding who was at fault for the crash. This may include: arrests, citations, suspected contributory factors and the posted speed limit. Last, you can find the identification numbers, supervisor names and signatures of the investigating agency.

Click here for a visual reference to page one.

Page two — the diagram and narrative of your crash

One page two of your crash report, you will find:

  • Diagram or pictorial narrative of your crash: The officers who investigated your crash will provide a diagram or pictorial narrative of how your crash occurred. Describing how a crash occurred and who was at fault in words can be difficult. In this section, the diagram provides a clear picture as to how the crash occurred. This will include:
    • Vehicle direction at the time of the crash
    • Traffic signals at the location of the crash (if there were any)
    • If the crash happened at an intersection
    • Skid marks in the road
  • Written narrative: In this section, the investigating officer will provide a written narrative detailing how he or she believed the crash occurred and what factors were involved. For example, distracted driving, drunk driving, or speeding may be noted.

Click here for a visual reference to pages one and two of your Illinois crash report.

Contact our Chicago car accident attorneys for help with your claim

While a comprehensive crash report can provide some significant evidence to support your claim, a further investigation will need to be conducted. Police reports don't always document all the evidence determining fault. For example, an experienced car accident attorney will need to obtain cellphone records if your crash was believed to be caused by distracted driving. In addition, an attorney can obtain witness statements and video footage from surveillance cameras (if they're available).

Contact Coplan + Crane in Chicago to get started on your claim. We offer free and confidential case evaluations and can sort out all of the complexities of your car accident case while you focus on recovery.

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