The most important thing to do after a car accident, outside of making sure you and your family are safe, is call the police. Officers will play a vital role in making sure the area is secure and everyone is safe. They also do their best to gather evidence to get to the bottom of what happened and determine who is at fault. So, if you have been injured, a police officer’s role at the scene of an accident is crucial to any future litigation. It’s important to know what the job of the police is at the scene of an accident.
Statements of Those Involved
On arriving at the scene, police will take statements from everyone involved in the accident. It’s important to know that these statements and the subsequent police report are not admissible as evidence in Indiana court. Still, the statement you give police needs to be wholly accurate and truthful to the best of your knowledge. If you remember facts later, you should follow up with the police to amend your statement. The police report is not automatically sent to insurance companies, and the insurer may even have to pay for the report.
If others witnessed the accident, but have no involvement with it, the police officers will be interested in speaking to them. A witness is not required to stay at the scene of an accident, but if they want to leave before police arrive, you should get their contact information in case their statement is needed later.
Police officers may take pictures of a car accident. However, the police are not required to take photos, so it’s still a good idea to take some of your own. This is especially true because the photos taken by police will not be released to insurers without a request, so having your own photos is valuable. A diagram of the accident and the trajectory of each car is also often included in the police report, though again, not admissible as evidence..
If somebody seems like they are under the influence of any substances after a car accident, field sobriety tests may be administered. If an officer further suspects drug or alcohol use after these tests, a follow-up blood test may be given.
Accident Reconstruction by Police
In addition to taking photos and statements from those involved, police are trained in accident reconstruction. Officers take measurements at the scene, spray paint lines where objects or car pieces came to rest, and measure things like gouges in the median or tread marks. This process allows them to determine with more objectivity what action was taken by which driver. Information from internal computers like black boxes or airbag controls may be part of this reconstruction as well. In some cases of multi-car or severe accidents, police even later claim the totalled cars to recreate the incident exactly.
Police investigations at the scene of an accident are an important part of objectively preserving the facts and details of a car accident. But knowing what to do next when you are injured isn’t always easy. This is why the Indianapolis personal injury attorneys at Cline Farrell Christie & Lee want to help injured Hoosiers get what they need to move forward in life with peace of mind. From listening to your story to fighting for you in court, we’re your advocates. Contact us today for a free consultation.