You probably are familiar with the term police report. However, unless you’ve had a traffic accident, you may have never seen one.
When a car crash occurs, the drivers by law must usually remain at the scene and notify the police. This applies to any car crash in New Jersey, whether it occurs in North Jersey, in Bergen County, Passaic County or wherever. The police will dispatch an officer to the scene. The officer will speak with the parties involved, and with any witnesses. Sometimes, the officer may make certain other observations. For example, he may record the position and length of any skid marks.
Eventually, the officer will record his observations in a document. That document is the police report. It will contain, for example, the names of the drivers, the weather conditions, the vehicle registration numbers, and the name of the insurance company covering each vehicle.
The report may also contain any statements made to the officer by anyone at the scene. It can contain the officer’s assessment of who was at fault for the accident.
To save time, police officers will record some data as numeric codes. To know what these codes mean, you must have a copy of the code keys.
HOW TO OBTAIN YOUR POLICE REPORT
To protect your rights, you should obtain a copy of your police report as soon as possible. You can usually get it from the records department of the police agency of the responding officer. This may or may not be the police department of whatever town the crash took place in. In particular, highway accident police reports are often produced by the New Jersey State Police.
Officers write police reports under time pressure. Therefore, the reports are not always accurate. If there is a mistake in your police report, you may be able to do something about it. Consult a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Indeed, if you are injured in a car crash, you should see my other article about what to do after a car accident. If you fail to do so, you may jeopardize your ability to receive compensation.