For many people, a car accident is a stressful and overwhelming experience, and they are unsure of what steps to take following an accident. If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Arkansas, it is vital to get a police report of the accident because it is one of the most important documents for filing an insurance claim to receive reasonable compensation after an accident.
At Morris Bart, we feel it is important to educate drivers on the legal steps they need to take after a car accident. Learn more about why getting a police report is vital if you’ve been in a car accident and how to get a police report in Arkansas.
Why a Police Report Is Essential After a Car Accident
A police report is an important document that describes an accident from the point of view of the law enforcement officer who handled the incident. It’s important to note that there are negative consequences of choosing not to file a police report after a car accident. In fact, not filing a police report can negatively affect your ability to collect on your insurance claim and prove who was at fault in the accident.
It’s important to note that not all car accidents lead to immediately visible injuries. If you eventually end up in the hospital with pain resulting from an accident, you may regret not having gone through the proper channels of filing a report with the police. Having good evidence of what really occurred, including a police report, will ultimately help you to receive a fair settlement offer.
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What’s Included in a Police Report?
Police reports include vital information that is often an essential part of an insurance claim. A police report is an unbiased, third-party report of the incident that insurance companies commonly rely on when determining a settlement. It will include the following information:
- The place the accident occurred
- The date and time of the accident
- Any damages to the vehicles involved
- The injuries sustained by drivers and witnesses
- Statements of other drivers or witnesses to the accident
The Consequences of Not Filing a Report
Many drivers believe that they don’t have to file a police report after an accident. But not filing can lead to a driver losing their license and facing a penalty of up to $100.00 in some cases. It’s also possible that the Office of Driver Services may assume that you were driving uninsured if you fail to file a report with proof of insurance, which can lead to additional penalties.
Responsibility for Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident
Under Arkansas law, the driver of every vehicle who was involved in an accident must file a police report within 30 days if the accident resulted in damages of $1,000 or more to the property of any person or if it resulted in injury to or death of any person, regardless of who was at fault. You will be required to file a proof of insurance certificate and proof of financial responsibility within 90 days of the accident with the Office of Driver Services.
What a Police Report in Arkansas Includes
Even when your injuries appear to be minor or nonexistent, it’s always best to report the incident to the police. Not only can it lead to legal consequences, but it will be more difficult to receive compensation if you don’t have a report from a third-party, such as the police. Once the police arrive on the scene, they will conduct their own investigation of the accident and create a police report.
Aside from the basic details included in a police report, the officer will also include pertinent information that may be useful for your insurance claim. For instance, sometimes the police officer will draw a diagram of the incident that shows the location and path of each vehicle and the point of collision. Additionally, a police officer may include a statement regarding how and why they believe the accident occurred.
Getting a Police Report
If you’ve been in a car accident in Arkansas and need access to the police report, you will need to follow some important steps. All crash reports can be found at the Arkansas Department of Public Safety. Depending on your needs, you can get an individual crash report or search for multiple reports by date range. There are several ways in which you can request a copy of a police report
For each report requested, there will be a $10.00 service fee when using the online service. If you choose to go this route, you will receive your accident report electronically if the report is available for purchase. Keep in mind that reports are typically ready within 10 business days after the incident.
If you would like to obtain a police report in person, you can request and pick up your copy of the accident report at an office of the Arkansas State Police Department. Just be sure to submit your request by filling out the crash report request form.
If you would like to obtain a police report through the mail, you will need to print and fill out the crash report request form. You will need to send the request in a self-addressed envelope and include a copy of your personal identification document.
Get Help with Your Personal Injury Case
Are you interested in getting compensation for your injuries after a car accident? At Morris Bart, we have a wealth of knowledge and over 40 years of experience helping our clients navigate their personal injury cases to receive compensation. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with a free legal consultation
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