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How To Get A Police Report For A Car Accident

August 6, 2020 by Steven M. Gursten

How To Get A Police Report For A Car Accident

To get a police report for a car accident that you were involved in, you can request a copy of the UD-10 Traffic Crash Report from the Michigan State Police or from the local department that investigated the crash. You will need the date and incident number. You will also likely have to pay a small fee.

Although getting a police report for a car accident might be the last thing you want to be doing after you’ve been injured, it is important to get one.

Nearly every insurance company requires their customers to obtain a copy of the report (also called the UD-10 Traffic Crash Report) at some point shortly after a car crash for processing an auto insurance claim.

As an attorney, I would add that getting a police report for a car accident is very important to making an insurance claim, but it is even more important to protecting your legal rights to compensation, auto No-Fault insurance benefits and other economic damages that you’ll be entitled to.

Today I wanted to share some tips and advice on how to quickly and easily obtain a copy of your police report.

Why it’s important to get a police report for a car accident

If you have been involved in a crash, you should always get a copy of the report – and the sooner the better.

Here’s why it’s important to get a police report for a car accident:

  • Nearly every auto insurance company will require you to provide a copy of the police report for a car accident when you are submitting a claim and so you can open a file.
  • You want to make sure the information in the police report is accurate and complete. I’ve been an auto accident attorney for nearly 30 years, and I’ve seen a lot of critical mistakes on police reports including police reversing who the at-fault driver is or putting down the wrong location or failing to list passengers in the vehicle. In addition, if the at-fault driver who caused your car accident is disputing he or she caused the crash, then having an attorney obtain witness statements from eyewitnesses, hiring experts and accident reconstructionists, or doing site inspections becomes critical.
  • Most reports will also include statements from both drivers and from witnesses, along with the names and addresses of witnesses, the insurance information of both drivers involved in the crash, and a diagram and narrative of the investigating officer’s opinion on how the crash occurred. As I said above, any discrepancies between the police report and what really happened must be corrected as soon as possible. Failing to correct these errors can have very real consequences and can even affect your ability to sue an at-fault, negligent driver for your injuries.
  • Failing to correct these errors on a police report can also affect and even negate your ability to bring an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company if you were hit and injured by an uninsured driver or a driver who is underinsured (meaning you have injuries that are worth more than the insurance the at-fault neglgient driver has to cover the crash).
  • Having a police report for a car accident also allows your lawyer to comply with any and all notice provisions in your insurance policies. This will speed up the process by allowing your lawyer to promptly file your lawsuit or injury claim and comply with contract filing requirements that auto insurance companies insert in their uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage policies, health insurance policies, and umbrella coverage policies.
  • The filing of a police report or a lawsuit against an at-fault wrongdoer driver may be a required prerequisite to your filing of a UM or UIM claim. This will depend on the specific language of your policy.
  • A police report for your car accident will help your lawyer to prove that the at-fault driver was truly at-fault for causing your crash. Even if the observations made by the police officer may not be admissible, the statements (admissions) of the at-fault driver are admissible. It is amazing to me still how often a person’s story completely changes from what he says at the scene to an investigating police officer to what he says when he is in traffic court trying to dismiss a ticket for a traffic violation. As I note above, if there is any indication the potential defendant will later be changing his story or disputing liability, you want your car accident lawyer starting an investigation immediately and locking in liability as soon as possible to prevent him from later changing his story and saying he now was not at-fault.
  • You will need a copy of your police report to pursue a mini tort claim against the at-fault driver for money damages to cover your vehicle repair costs.
  • If a truck or commercial vehicle was involved in causing your car accident, there often will need to be an electronic data recorder download and safety inspection. There may be crucial evidence of wrongdoing that can literally add millions to your case that will be erased and lost forever if months go by before your attorney puts the trucking company on notice or files a TRO. Critical evidence of speeding by the trucking company will disappear with a hard reset of the EDR, and it is sadly common to find drugs, stimulants, etc., in the cabin of the truck if an attorney and an expert can get out to inspect the truck shortly after a crash. If an inspection is not performed as soon as possible, the evidence will be lost. Your attorney will need the police report to contact the trucking company and tow yard as soon as possible.

Services for getting a police report for a car accident

You can get a police report for a car accident by requesting one from either the Michigan State Police or the department in the city where your crash occurred. However, there are also services that you can use to get a copy of your report.

These services include:

  • Michigan State Police’s Traffic Crash Purchasing System
  • LexisNexis – Police Reports (formerly known as “TracView”)
  • CLEMIS

The information you will need for any of these services includes: (1) the date of your car accident; (2) the incident or case number; (3) your date of birth; and (4) your driver license number.

The incident or case number is usually provided by the police officer at the scene of the accident. But if you were injured and taken to the hospital before you could get the incident or case number, then you can contact the police department that investigated your car accident and request it.

Some local departments may require you to file a FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) to obtain a copy of the police report for a car accident.

Filing a police report for a car accident

If you have been involved in a crash that resulted in death, injury or property damage over $1,000, you must file a police report for a car accident to the nearest or most convenient officer. (MCL 257.622) Then, the officer must complete a UD-10 Traffic Crash Report and forward it to the Michigan State Police.

To learn more, check out my blog post on “Michigan Car Accident Police Report FAQs.”

Need help? Call the attorneys at Michigan Auto Law

If you were injured in a car accident and would like to speak to an experienced attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.

How To Get A Police Report For A Car Accident

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