And 3 reasons it’s important to have a copy of this document if you’ve been involved in an auto accident
What happens after a car accident? Not right after, but in the days that follow? After any traffic accident with a motor vehicle, the last thing anyone wants to do is to start scrambling around gathering the paperwork for their insurance company.
But nearly every insurance company requires their customers to obtain a copy of the accident report (also called the UD-10 traffic crash report) at some point shortly after a traffic crash for processing an auto insurance claim.
And failing to comply with this request, or failing to even file a police report after a crash (and then provide it once requested by your claims adjuster) can have very real and dangerous consequences.
As an attorney, I would add that this information is also very important for your personal records (I discuss why in more detail below). Today I wanted to share some advice on how to obtain a copy of your police report quickly and easily. No headaches.
Getting a copy of your UD-10 police report quickly and easily
Most local police departments, county sheriffs and Michigan State Police now put UD-10 traffic accident reports online for residents to download for their own use. There’s a small fee for most of the reports, payable to the online service that provides the reports. This is a quick and easy process for most people.
There are several websites where the majority of Michigan local police department accident reports can be found.
Our attorneys at Michigan Auto Law recommend that our own clients use TracView or Michigan State Police websites first to check that your local police station is listed. If it is, you can click on that police department and put in the date of the accident and the report (also called incident) number. This number is usually provided by the police officer at the scene of the accident.
If you were injured and taken to the hospital, or if you didn’t have police on the scene, you can contact the police department for the report number.
The Clemis system allows you to search using your driver’s license number instead of the report number, but not all cities in Michigan have police departments that use the Clemis system.
Make sure you’re selecting the police department in the city where your car accident occurred, not where you live. If the county sheriff or Michigan State Police were at the scene of your accident, you should use the Michigan State Police link above to find your report.
How do I obtain a police report if I do not have Internet access?
For those without Internet access and credit card payment, you can usually visit the records department of the local police who came to the scene of your accident. Or if no police arrived to the scene, refer to the police department in the jurisdiction where your traffic crash occurred.
This process and the fees vary by department.
If you cannot get your accident report online, our attorneys recommend you contact the records department for their policies and office hours to obtain a copy of your accident report.
Why do I need my own copy of a Traffic Crash Report?
Some auto insurance companies will obtain a copy of your car accident report on their own and tell you there’s nothing you need to do on your end. But there are many more that won’t.
As an auto accident lawyer who has seen countless delaying tricks and tactics auto insurance companies use on their insured customers, I recommend you obtain your own police report directly from the police department using the online services above or in person at the police station for several important reasons:
- To make sure the police report is accurate: While auto insurance companies are not able to alter a police report, you will want to verify the accuracy of the information on the report. I’ve seen police reports that left off witnesses at the scene, passengers in vehicles, and even incorrectly stated how the crash happened. If there is a discrepancy in the report and what actually happened, you will want to know right away so you can request an amended report be filed as soon as possible.
- In case you were injured and need to hire an accident lawyer for your car accident: Most lawyers, including all of the ones who work here, obtain police reports for our clients. But sometimes there can be a delay in an attorney obtaining a police report, and if there is an uninsured motorist claim (a car accident involving a hit and run or uninsured driver) or certain other contract claims, a copy of the police report will be needed as quickly as possible. Having important documents like your accident report will speed up the process and will help protect your legal rights.
- If you need your car damage repaired under the Michigan mini tort: If there was damage to your vehicle, you will need a copy of the report to file a mini tort claim to get reimbursed for a portion of your vehicle damage. Here’s more information about your Michigan mini tort claim for car damage.
These are important steps I recommend for anyone involved in a Michigan auto accident — regardless of who is at fault and whether there were injuries or not.
If you were involved in an accident in a Detroit metro suburb or a mid to large size city in Michigan, our Local Resources page provides details on how to obtain a copy of an accident report, as well as contact information for your city’s police, hospitals and courts.
– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by meddygarnet