What Is In a Police Report?
A lot of people have heard the term “police report” before. If asked, most people will correctly assume that it is a report the police make about an incident. Yet not many would be able to say what goes into a police report. Since police reports are frequently used in accident lawsuits, it is worth getting to understand them a little better.
A police report is a written document. Most often, the police report is generated at the scene of the accident by the first officer to respond. This isn’t always the case, as there are always unique circumstances that can make accidents unpredictable and weird.
A police report contains details about the car accident, such as the parties that were involved and what vehicles they were driving; statements from the drivers, witnesses, or passengers about what happened; a diagram of the accident; or possibly even the conclusions that the officer writing the report came to.
A police report can be an excellent piece of information that provides reinforcement to your side of the story. However, it is important to understand a police report is not admissible in court. This means that neither you nor the other party can admit the contents of the police report as evidence in a personal injury lawsuit. They include a lot of important information that can be used to create your case, but they are a stone from whence to step rather than the end-all-be-all of evidence.
Since police reports are vital pieces of information, it is worth looking at them in more depth. We’ll see how to file a police report, how to get a copy of the police report, and what can be done if the information in a police report is wrong.
How Do I File a Police Report?
The easiest way to file a police report is to call the police after getting into an accident. An officer will come out to the scene of the accident and fill out a report there. In situations where it is not possible to get a police report done at the scene of the accident, you could make a report online, in person, or over the telephone.
Las Vegas police require the following information in order to fill out a police report:
- The date of the crash
- The time of the crash
- The location of the crash
- The make and model of the vehicles involved in the crash
- License plate numbers
- Personal contact information
- Personal information for the victims
- Personal information for the drivers
- Personal information for witnesses
- Information about damage caused by the crash
- Information about injuries caused by the crash
- Any other relevant information that may not have fallen into one of the above categories
In addition, the police officer making the report may ask for additional information. Provide this to the best of your ability.
You have ten days from the date of the crash to file a police report. If this doesn’t sound like a lot of time, that’s because it isn’t. If you are filing a police report yourself, then you need to make sure that you start it sooner rather than later. It is all too easy to miss the deadline for filing because you underestimated how much time it would require.
However, not every accident needs to be reported. Nevada law’s NRS 484E.050 and NRS 484E.070 inform us of the circumstances wherein you must make a report. The first requires you to give immediate notice to the nearest police officer after crashing into another vehicle. The latter requires you to make a report within ten days if there were at least $750 in damages or injuries and an officer failed to come to the scene.
How Can I Get a Copy of the Police Report on my Accident in Las Vegas?
Obtaining a copy of the police report after an accident in Las Vegas is actually fairly simple. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) provides several ways for you to request a copy of an incident report, a traffic collision report, or even an arrest report. You can request a copy of a report online, in person, or through the mail.
Getting a copy of the police report will cost $11. Payment can be made with a debit or credit card online, while cash is accepted in person.
You will also be required to show one of the following forms of ID:
- State ID
- Real ID
- Driver’s license
- United States passport
- Passport issued by another country
- Permanent resident alien registration card
- Military ID
- Consulate Matricula ID card.
- Original or certified copies of a juvenile’s birth certificate (if you are picking up as a parent)
- Original or certified copy of the guardianship paperwork issued by Family Court Services (if you are picking up as a guardian)
- Completed, signed, and notarized authorization form (to pick up for a friend or a family member)
- Signed and notarized Letter of Authorization on law firm letterhead (if picking up as a client’s attorney)
What Happens if the Police Report Is Wrong?
Police are human beings like the rest of us, so it’s entirely possible that the police report will have errors or misunderstandings. If the police make the report look bad, this could hurt your case, couldn’t it?
The answer is not really. The police report cannot be used as evidence in the lawsuit, so the errors cannot be entered into the court’s records. A police report can help you build a case, but it is not the case itself. So if there are errors, it isn’t the end of the world. In most cases, they won’t matter in the least.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been In an Accident?
If you have been in a car accident in Las Vegas, the first thing to do is report it. Following this, make sure that you get medical attention to see to any injuries you suffered.
Once you are sure that you informed the authorities and your health is no longer at risk, it is time to contact an attorney. They will be able to help you through everything from obtaining the police report to building a solid case, as well as everything in between.