The police report is an important document to have after a car accident. This document contains the circumstances and facts of a car accident as the police see it. The police report typically contains descriptions of damages to vehicles, passenger and driver injuries, witness names, and possibly a statement of who may be at fault for the accident. Note that this is the opinion of the police officer who wrote the report; the insurance company may have another point of view on the matter.

The police report may also contain important statements about weather conditions at the time of the accident, lighting conditions and condition of the roadway. Also, often included is a diagram of the accident scene. All these details can be important to establish liability for the accident.

If the accident becomes a claim or lawsuit, it will be important for you to have a copy of the police report. Here is how to get one:

  1. Contact the police department that investigated your car accident. If you do not remember the department of the investigating officer, you can call either the municipal police department, the sheriff’s office or the state highway patrol.
  2. Usually, the police department will have you complete a police report request form. Many local police departments now allow you to request a police report online.
  3. Some police departments will charge you to get a copy of the police report. Prices can vary per department.

Note that most DMVs in most states require you to submit a car accident report to the DMV within 72 hours after the accident, if there was serious damage or injuries. This requirement varies by state, so check with your DMV to see what the requirements are.