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According to a 2010 report released by the Center for Disease Control, every 10 seconds the victim an auto accident is treated in a hospital emergency room. Whether you are only involved in a simple fender bender or a serious accident, determining who is at fault will play an important role in getting damages for your claim. Accidents that involve injuries, fatalities or more than one vehicle will usually involve a police investigation. An accident report filed by law enforcement officials will have detailed facts about the circumstances regarding what happened and who is to blame.
If you were involved in an accident and the police were called to the scene, they will usually file a report within a matter of days. Local law enforcement that filed the accident report could include the city police department, the county sheriff’s office or the state police if the accident happened outside the city limits. You may be required to fill out forms and submit your request to the records clerk. Some agencies will charge a fee for obtaining a copy of the accident report, ranging anywhere from $5 to $20.
Sometimes the responding officer will hand out his or her business card with phone numbers of how they can be reached. Large cities may have information available through a website where you can place a request in obtaining a copy of the report. You can inquire when the report will be ready, how much it will cost and what method of payment will be acceptable.
Accidents with minor damage may involve the parties exchanging their insurance and contact information. If an official police report was not taken, it is still important to document everything that happened right after the accident. Victims will sometimes claim later that their injuries are much more severe than originally reported. If you are unsure about what to do, contact an experienced car accident attorney for legal advice regarding how to handle your case.