If you are involved in a car accident, truck accident, or other accident in the State of Missouri, responding police officers are responsible for creating a report to document the accident. The accident report is an important document which will enable you or your Missouri personal injury lawyer to begin their investigation.
What Information is Contained in the Accident Report?
A Missouri police report may contain some or all of the following information:
- The names, addresses, and phone numbers of the driver’s and passengers involved in the crash.
- The insurance companies and policy information for the driver’s involved in the crash.
- The names, addresses, and phone number of any witnesses to the crash.
- The name and contact information of the police officer who wrote the report.
- The weather conditions and road conditions existing at the time of the crash.
- Statements of the parties made at the scene of the crash.
- A list of the “Probable Contributing Circumstances” which led to the crash, based on the police officers investigation.
- A diagram showing vehicle positions and traffic control devices.
- The year, make, model, color, license plate number, and VIN number of the vehicles involved in the crash, or a DOT number if applicable.
The information contained in the initial crash report will allow an experienced injury lawyer to begin an investigation into the collision to ensure a more detailed analysis is completed. It is important to remember that while a police officer creates a report, he is using all second hand information and did not personally witness the crash. For this reason, it is important an independent investigation is undertaken to ensure all the facts are obtained.
Where to Obtain the Accident Report?
In City of St. Louis alone there are approximately 90 different municipalities with their own police force. Depending on where the accident occurred, the police officer from that particular city, county, or municipality will be the department who creates and stores the report. Often at the scene of the crash, the police officer will provide an accident referral card with some very basic information so that you can contact the right department to obtain the police report once it is complete.
If you are involved in an accident on Missouri highways, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will often generate and retain the report, despite the particular city, county, or municipality in which the crash occurred. If the Missouri State Highway Patrol created the police report in your case, they make their reports available online.
How Long Does it Take to Get the Report?
It depends. The police officer who responds to the scene of the crash will be responsible for generating the report. This typically takes 5-10 business days before it is available to pick up. In serious injury and death cases, it may take much longer to obtain the report. For instance, if an accident involves a fatality, the police will undertake a extremely detailed investigation, which may include an accident reconstruction, forensic evidence, etc. Accident reports in this situation may take in excess of 30 days before they are available to the public.
A MO personal accident lawyer who is familiar with the process can obtain your report and assist with the initial investigation. This will allow injury victims to focus on their recovery and ensure you have someone working for you to counter the tactics of large insurance corporations. If you need assistance locating your crash report, contact St. Louis personal injury attorney Chris Dixon by calling (314)409-7060 or toll-free at (855)-40-CRASH.