How to Get a Car Accident Police Report in Wisconsin
After being involved in a car accident in Wisconsin, you are supposed to record the immediate events of the incident with the police. The Wis. Stats. § 346.70 requires drivers to record a car accident report with the police after an incident. Usually, you need to dial 911 to alert the police, who may visit the crash scene immediately to draft an accident report.
However, the car accident police report may be used against your claim in the future. This is particularly true if you issued contradictory remarks due to the accident shock. However, this report may still be helpful as it forms the basis of compensation claims.
Having a legal advocate is highly advised for help in getting a police report to boost your chances of a successful claim. A Wisconsin personal injury lawyer from Mingo & Yankala, S.C. Accident & Injury Lawyers can help file the accident police report properly and in pursuit of compensation for damages.
Continue reading to learn more about getting a car accident police report in Wisconsin and how a personal injury lawyer can help.
What Is a Wisconsin Accident Report?
A Wisconsin accident report is a document that records the circumstances of a car accident. It serves as an official incident record and includes several components. These include:
- Officer’s comments on the Incident: The officer’s comments on the accident provide an initial assessment of the scene. This may include apparent factors contributing to the accident. These comments are important in helping understand the circumstances of the crash.
- Information about the involved parties: The accident report contains detailed information about all parties involved. This includes the names, addresses, contact information, and insurance details of drivers and passengers. This may help establish the identity of those responsible and for contact purposes during the legal process.
- Details about how the crash occurred: The report also provides a narrative or diagram describing the accident. This can include factors such as the direction of travel, vehicle positions, and apparent violations of traffic laws. These details further help in reconstructing the accident and determining liability.
- Eyewitness accounts: Eyewitness statements usually provide independent perspectives on the accident to inject additional insights into what transpired. Eyewitness testimony can corroborate or challenge the involved parties’ versions of events and help establish a clearer picture of the incident.
Evidently, the Wisconsin accident report is a foundational document that establishes the facts of the accident. As such, you may need to obtain a copy and review the report carefully to ensure accurate information.
How To Get a Car Accident Police Report in Wisconsin?
A copy of the car accident police report in Wisconsin is essential. Your personal injury lawyer will use the copy to build strong evidence to support your claim. If you want a copy of the report, here is the how:
- You may contact the law enforcement agency that responded to the accident and give them the report’s retrieval number. This could be the local police department, county sheriff’s office, or the Wisconsin State Patrol, depending on where the accident occurred.
- If you lost your retrieval number, approach the officer who responded and recorded the incident. When contacting them, be armed with specific information about the accident, such as the date, time, and location. Additionally, you may need to provide the names of other involved parties to help the agency locate the correct report.
- Alternatively, you may contact your insurance company directly. Usually, insurance companies retain a copy of car accident reports after car accidents. Ask them to send you a copy of the incident report electronically or by mail.
How Can a Police Report Help Your Personal Injury Case?
A police report provides critical information and evidence that can support your claims and help you achieve a favorable outcome.
Establishing the Facts
A police report provides an official accident account. It includes details about the incident date, time, and location, along with a description of how the accident occurred. This factual information is essential in establishing the basic framework of your case.
The report often includes the officer’s assessment of fault or negligence. For example, the report often notes traffic violations or citations issued. These violations can be evidence of negligence by the responsible party.
Additionally, if there were witnesses to the accident, their statements are usually included in the police report. Witness testimony can corroborate your version of events, provide additional perspectives, and strengthen your case.
The report may document injuries sustained by all parties involved. This information serves as a baseline for the proof of injuries caused by the accident. This is important when it comes to establishing the connection between the accident and your injuries.
Establishing a Timeline
The report helps establish a timeline of events leading to and following the accident. This can help prove causation, which shows the link between the accident and your injuries.
Additionally, the record indicates the date of injury, which determines the time frame for filing a lawsuit. You have three years in Wisconsin to file your lawsuit, per the Wisconsin statute of limitations. You need to observe this timeline to avoid loss of possible compensation.
Do I Need a Police Report for an Insurance Claim?
Sometimes, police may not report to the scene of an accident. In such cases, you still have 10 days to make the report. If you do not file an accident report, the insurance process can be challenging.
Wis. Stats. § 346.70(1) establishes the type of incidents that must be reported to the police, including:
- Injury or loss of life to an individual
- $1,000 or greater in property damage
- $200 or more in damage on government property
It would also be reasonable to file a police report if:
- If the other driver flees the scene
- When the driver attempts to trick you into voiding insurance company involvement
- If the other driver does not provide essential details, such as contact information
The above injuries are considered significant and need to be accompanied by a police accident report. Though not mandatory, having a police accident report may significantly boost your personal injury claim.
Can a Police Officer Change a Police Report?
Police officers can make changes to a police report under certain circumstances. The alterations should be supported by valid reasons to maintain the report’s integrity. However, these changes are typically limited to factual errors or omissions, not subjective ones.
For instance, officers can amend the report to rectify incorrect dates, names, addresses, or other objective information. Also, if crucial information was inadvertently omitted from the initial report, such as witness statements or photographic evidence, police may update the report to provide a more comprehensive account of the incident.
However, police officers are generally not permitted to change the subjective elements of a report, such as opinions, assessments of fault, or witness statements. These elements represent the officer’s perspective during the incident and are considered non-negotiable.
How Can a Milwaukee Personal Injury Lawyer Help Your Case?
While you may choose to handle your personal injury case alone, we highly recommend having an attorney from a reputable legal firm handle your case. The personal injury law can be complex, especially when dealing with insurance companies. Your legal advocate will ensure that your case handling complies with the law and your rights are protected.
Here are the ways a Milwaukee personal injury can help:
- Case evaluation: Personal injury attorneys will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They can provide an informed opinion on the potential for success and the expected outcomes. Attorneys often consult with medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists, and other professionals for insights and testimony to strengthen your case.
- Investigation: Lawyers have the resources and knowledge to conduct thorough investigations into your case. They will gather evidence, interview witnesses, consult with experts, and collect documentation to build a strong case.
- Negotiation: Attorneys are skilled in engaging with insurance companies, at-fault parties, and their opposing legal representatives. Their negotiation skills are invaluable for fighting for just compensation.
- Representation: A personal injury lawyer may represent you in court if a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation. They will build a compelling case, present evidence, and advocate for your rights and interests before a judge. They will manage the legal paperwork, filings, and deadlines to meet procedural requirements.
- Maximizing compensation: Your lawyers can identify all potential sources of compensation, such as insurance policies, responsible parties, and available damages, to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Contact a Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney Today
Getting a car accident report may form a solid basis for seeking compensation for your injuries. However, dealing with opposing counsel might be challenging when dealing with a personal injury claim. It is in your interest to enlist the guidance of a personal injury lawyer to help protect your rights in the process.
At our firm, our Wisconsin personal injury lawyers are ready to help you navigate the case. Our client testimonials show that we have helped several clients obtain satisfactory outcomes. Contact us today to discuss your case at no cost.