Published On: Fri, Jul 19th, 2019

Why You Should Get a Police Report After a Personal Injury

After sustaining an injury in some abnormal way, such as getting involved in a car accident or tripping and falling at work, you’ll probably be focused on the pain, or getting to safety as soon as possible. It’s good to secure yourself and your surroundings as an introductory measure, but after that, many people miss the important step of getting a police report. 

Filing a police report through a law enforcement officer is one of the most important ways to protect yourself after a personal injury—regardless of how you sustained it.

photo/Claim Accident Services

The Benefits of a Police Report

There are several benefits to getting a police report: 

  • Immediate action. First, you’ll have the benefit of immediacy. Human memory isn’t the most reliable, and people aren’t always honest with how they approach situations related to personal injury. If you’re injured by someone in an accident, they may admit fault on the scene, but a week later, may insist that they were clearly in the right. Similarly, your memory of the event will almost certainly deteriorate, and eventually fail, calling your description of events into question if you’re ever forced into an uncomfortable position. Getting a police report immediately after the event will secure an accurate description of the event as early as possible, so memories can’t be contaminated. 
  • Official documentation. Police records also offer an “official” documentation of the event. Physical evidence, especially if you’ve captured something on film or in a photo, is hard to contradict, but eyewitness testimonies and personal claims don’t hold much water in the legal system. If you’re pursuing a personal injury case, you’ll need something official. A police officer investigating the scene will ask questions and get a professional perspective on the sequence of events that transpired. 
  • A common reference point. Police reports aren’t considered publicly available, but they do act as a kind of third-party, common reference point. If you end up taking the other person to court, both your lawyers will have access to the same record. 

So how do you get a police report? That’s fairly easy. After the event, call the local police (or whomever has jurisdiction in this area). Depending on the urgency of the situation, it may take some time for them to show up. At that point, they’ll likely ask for some basic information, including personal information of you and the other parties involved, and may investigate the scene of the crime. Be sure to be thorough in your descriptions, and answer the officer’s questions honestly. 

Types of Personal Injury 

The next question you might ask is what, exactly, qualifies, as a “personal injury?” You may injure yourself in any number of different ways, but you’ll only want a police report if someone else is responsible for the injury in some way. These are some of the most common types of personal injury cases: 

  • Car accidents. Car accidents are usually someone’s fault. It could be because they weren’t following the rules of the road, or because they didn’t keep their car in operational shape, but if responsible for the accident, the other party will be responsible for your injuries as well. These injuries may not set in right away, so be sure to follow up on your injuries in the days and weeks following the accident. 
  • Medical malpractice. Medical malpractice could also qualify as a kind of personal injury. If your doctor provides you with inaccurate or irresponsible advice, or if they treat you in a way that results in more complications, they could be held liable for the damages.  
  • Workplace injuries. Most employers are responsible for carrying workers’ compensation insurance, which will pay for any injuries you sustain on the job. However, if someone was directly responsible for your injury, you may be able to seek compensation directly. 
  • Slips and falls. If someone is irresponsible, it could lead to you slipping and falling. For example, you might slip on ice on sidewalk that has been neglected. 
  • Assault. Someone directly assaulting you also counts as a personal injury. You may be able to file multiple charges against someone in these scenarios. 
  • Dog bites. Dog owners are responsible for ensuring the safety of the people around them. Dog bites also qualify as personal injuries. 

How to Handle a Personal Injury 

Whenever you receive a personal injury, your first step is to remain calm. Staying calm will allow you to make more rational decisions, and handle the situation more maturely. It will also make your testimony more believable and more reliable. Then, make sure you get yourself to safety—especially if you’re in a high-risk area, like the middle of the road. Only when you’re safe and when the area is secure should you contact the police and file a report.

Author: Anna Johansson

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