It is part of the routine for many police officers to come to the scene of an accident. Their job is to uphold the law and ensure the safety of citizens. They survey for any damages and injuries, take down any statements made by those involved and outside witnesses. A police officer may even issue citation tickets if it is believed one was committed during the accident. Officers also work to clear the scene of the accident, ensure the safety of any injured victims, and redirect traffic if necessary.
Officers are already beginning their analysis of the accident the moment they arrive. You must be very careful about the details you give, as these could give the officer reason to blame you for the accident, even if you don't believe your actions caused it.
What You Need to Know about Police Reports
The information that you give in your statement goes toward compiling the police report. This report is the officer's account of how the accident occurred. Your statements can be misconstrued, taken out of context, and even be used to incriminate you if you are not careful.
This is what you should do if you are involved in an accident:
- Call 911, regardless if there were any injuries
- Take several photos of the accident, surrounding areas, and any traffic signs
- Exchange information with the other parties involved
- Get witness names and information
- Notify the insurance company
Police reports are a matter of public record, and if there are some personal details that you don't want revealed, you should not discuss this with the officer. Statements made by the police can also be thrown out by the judges, as it is considered "hearsay." In other words, since the officer was not actually present at the scene, their report is merely their opinion of the incident based on the information that was given during a statement. This is why you need to be so cautious about what details you volunteer.
Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney First
If an officer approaches you to collect a statement, you must remain calm. You can choose not to say anything. Sometimes those involved in car accidents admit fault because they are under a lot of pressure or are facing significant amount of stress from their injuries. Consulting with an Orange County personal injury lawyer about your accident before giving a statement can make a world of difference when it comes to resolving your case.
If you were involved in a car accident, speak with our firm to determine how we can obtain a successful outcome for you!