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What Is Included in a Police Accident Report?

April 11, 2024

Contacting law enforcement is a critical step to take after many types of harmful events in Colorado, including car accidents, robberies and physical assaults. Calling the police to report your incident can give you a critical piece of evidence to use during an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit: a police accident report.

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Basic Facts of the Case

First, the police officer who responds to the call and arrives at the scene will document basic facts and information about the accident. This will generally include the date, time and precise location of the accident, such as street names or mile markers.

Driver and Vehicle Information

If the officer is responding to an automobile accident, the police report will also include driver and vehicle information, including a description of both cars, their license plate numbers, vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and each driver’s insurance information.

Witness Information

A police officer will take the time to speak to all parties present at the scene of the accident. This may include witnesses who were not directly involved in the accident but saw it take place. Eyewitnesses may have information that others do not, which can help investigators piece together how the accident occurred. The police report will record eyewitness information. Speak to a car accident lawyer in Denver if you need help gathering evidence effectively as one would understand what necessary information you will need for an accident claim.

Descriptions of Injuries and Damage

If someone was injured or sustained property damage in the accident, law enforcement will include this information in the police report. The report will describe each individual’s injuries, name all injured parties, note the extent of their injuries and state whether they were taken to a local hospital.

A Diagram of the Accident

In car accident cases, a police report will typically include a drawn diagram of the accident. The police officer will include the roadway, any crosswalks or intersection control devices, road signs, and the positions of both vehicles in the drawing. This diagram can help experts reconstruct the car accident to determine fault.

Official Accident Scene Photographs

Many police accident reports include official photographs of the accident scene, taken by a law enforcement officer. These photos can be instrumental in helping experts reconstruct the accident, as well as to prove a victim’s injuries or property damage for insurance purposes. They can capture key details, such as road conditions in a car accident case.

Citations or Violations

If the police issued any citations or made arrests for apparent violations of the law, these will be documented in the police accident report. Examples include citations for driving under the influence (DUI), reckless driving, physical assault and domestic violence.

The Officer’s Observations and Notes

Finally, a police accident report will contain the officer’s personal observations and notes, which often include what the officer believes is most likely the cause of the accident. While these notes will not be used as definitive proof of fault, they can help investigators determine causation.

How to Use a Police Accident Report During a Personal Injury Claim

To obtain a copy of your police report after an accident in Colorado, contact the police station or precinct nearest to where the accident occurred. The police officer must file an official report within 10 days of visiting the scene of your accident. You can then use your copy of the police report during an insurance claim or get help from a personal injury lawyer in Denver to prove case elements such as the cause of the accident or the extent of your losses.