You’ve been in an auto accident in Chicago. You’ve exchanged insurance information with the other party involved and called the police. You may be wondering how you will file a claim, or what you will tell your insurance company. The attorneys at Coplan + Crane know what you are going through.
Before you proceed, it’s important to understand that the traffic crash report is a key component in your claim. It tells an objective, third-party story of what happened – even if the other driver, or his or her insurance company, attempts to pin the blame on you. (That said, it’s also possible for the police report to contain errors.)
If you have any questions about how the claims process works, consult with one of our experienced auto accident attorneys before speaking to your insurance company.
What evidence will I find on a police report?
When police arrive at the scene of a crash, they will initially check on all parties involved and act promptly if any injuries are reported. They will also investigate the crash scene by examining:
- Tire skid marks in the road
- The direction vehicles were traveling
- The location of the crash
- Road conditions
- Road defects
- If any parties were impaired by drugs or alcohol
Police will also issue citations or make arrests if any traffic laws were violated. They will collect statements from witnesses and note any parties that were taken in an ambulance.
All of this information can be found on your traffic crash report and can be used to support your claim. You may obtain a copy of your report online or by mail.
What if the police weren’t there?
In some cases, an officer may not arrive at the scene of a crash. Your auto accident may have been too (seemingly) minor for police to respond, or there may have been another emergency in the immediate area that police were responding to at the time of your crash.
When this happens, you can still file a report yourself with the local police, sheriff’s office, or Illinois State Police. You may provide evidence that you gather from taking photos and speaking to witnesses.
Why your police report is important
Even if your accident was just a minor fender bender, you may experience injury symptoms days later. You may have sustained a concussion or whiplash. As the discomfort sets in, and you’re unable to perform everyday job functions or activities, you may be in need of medical treatment.
If your attorney is unable to obtain a traffic crash report, then proving fault may be difficult. That being said, there are numerous other ways to build a strong case for compensation. Our attorneys are adept at building the best possible case even in situations where the available evidence may be limited.