Many people in Evansville instinctively call 9-1-1 after a car accident, but others hesitate. After all, why involve the police? If injuries are minor and the other driver is cooperative and apologetic, do you really need to call the police?
Yes. In Evansville, just like everywhere else in Indiana, it’s mandatory to call the police after a car accident if anyone was injured, no matter how minor, or if there are damages exceeding $1,000.
There’s another reason you’ll want the police on the scene: the responding officer can file a police report and document all of the details surrounding your car accident.
The police report can be incredibly helpful in verifying your side of the story of what happened in the accident. The other driver’s insurance company or possibly your own insurance company may disagree with your version of events; if the police report upholds your account, it can greatly help your case.
But what happens when the police officer leaves the scene? How will you get a copy of your police report after an Evansville car accident?
How to Get Your Police Report from the Evansville Police
The Evansville Police Department states online that if the Evansville police respond and file a report regarding your car accident, then you’ll receive a case number you can use to access that report. Reports are typically available two days after the car accident.
There are two ways to retrieve your police report. You can go to the Evansville Police Department Central Record Room, located in the Civic Center Building in Room 126, or you can go online to www.buycrash.com and purchase the police report as long as you have the case number or the last name of the person involved in the crash.
The Evansville Police Department Central Record Room is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. It currently costs $12 to retrieve a copy of your police report. You can pay with check or money order, but not cash.
It’s a good idea to ask the police officer who responds to your car accident how to access your police report and when it will be available. Other cities and police departments have different processes for accessing police reports. However, you can always purchase your police report online from www.buycrash.com if your accident was in Indiana; Indiana is one of 14 states that offers crash reports through this website.
What If I Disagree With the Police Report?
Occasionally, an officer may make a mistake on the police report. First, you have to determine what kind of a mistake was made. That will determine how likely it is that the police will change the report.
If the officer made a factual error, you can contact the police department and request a change. The police department will typically agree to correct a factual error. A mistake in the location of the accident would be an example of a factual error.
However, if the mistake is simply a matter of opinion, there’s nothing you can really do to change the report. If you dispute that you violated a traffic law, that’s an example of a matter of opinion.
The best thing you can do is write your own version of the car accident soon after the accident occurred. Include as much detail as possible. Although this won’t change the police report, it may still help your case.
How Does the Insurance Company Use the Police Report?
The police report for your Evansville car accident isn’t the final word on your accident.
The officer cannot authoritatively determine who was at fault in the accident. She may be able to see the damages and injuries, but those are the effects of the accident. Those effects don’t necessarily point to a specific, obvious cause.
Because of this, the insurance company can only use your police report in certain ways. They may be able to establish details of the accident and descriptions of the damages. If the police officer issues any citations to the drivers, then that can help the insurance company determine who is at fault. But the police report is simply one piece of the puzzle in determining who caused the accident and the percentage of damages each party should be responsible for in accordance to their percentage of fault. (This is known as comparative fault.)
That’s why if you disagree with the police report, you shouldn’t worry about trying to change it. First of all, unless there’s a factual error, you’re unlikely to get anything changed. But second of all, the police report is just one part of the equation in determining fault and assigning damages after an Evansville car accident.
Other Rules You Should Follow After an Evansville Car Accident
The Evansville Police Department also lists other helpful information about steps you need to take after an Evansville car accident.
First, if your vehicle was towed, you should know that it was taken to Tri-State Towing at 1501 N. Evans in Evansville. Only the registered owner can recover a vehicle, and they must have a picture I.D. to prove their identity. Call Tri-State Towing at (812)-476-4004 to make sure they’re open, to double-check that you have all the necessary paperwork to get your vehicle, and to arrange a time to pick up your vehicle.
Second, all parties involved in the car accident must fill out the Indiana Operator’s Certificate of Compliance within 10 days of the accident and have it sent to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles by the insurance company, regardless of who is at fault or even what state you live in. If this form is not submitted, your license will be suspended or revoked.
Finally, if you were given a traffic citation related to the car accident, you must appear in court on the date and time determined in the citation.
Because you’ll have to reach out to your insurance company anyway to make sure they submit the Indiana Operator’s Certificate of Compliance in time, it may be a good idea to contact an Evansville car accident attorney. An attorney can speak to the insurance company on your behalf and make sure they submit the certificate while also protecting your personal injury claim.
Help After an Evansville Car Accident
Although the police report is just one facet of your case, it can be an important one. That’s one reason why you should always call the police after an Evansville car accident.
Even if no one is injured, it can be difficult to estimate whether or not someone’s damages are less than $1,000. You can always contact the police anyway if you’re unsure and get an officer to come and file a police report.
Remember, if you don’t call the police after a car accident, the Evansville Police Department can’t do an accident report. Once the vehicles have left the scene, the police cannot do a report after the fact. (The only exception for this is if you were the victim of a hit-and-run.)
If you’re having trouble getting the insurance company to believe your side of the story, an Evansville car accident attorney can help. An attorney can gather all of the available evidence—from police reports to eyewitness accounts to photographs of your damages and injuries—to build your case and negotiate with the insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve.
If you’ve been injured in an Evansville car accident, Hensley Legal Group can help. Call today or contact us online for a free consultation. Be sure to download our free eBook, Consumer’s Guide for Injured Victims, for more information on what to do after a car collision.