Where Do You Get a Copy of a Police Report if You’re in a Car Accident?
In many cases in Massachusetts, you can request a copy of the police report related to a car accident you’re involved in right from the police station. You might also be able to order an accident report copy through the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Keep reading to learn more about police reports, why they’re important when it comes to car and truck accidents, and how to get a copy of one.
Why Would You Want a Copy of the Police Report?
A police report is the official record of an accident, and it contains important information such as the names and contact information of all involved drivers and witnesses, information about the situation that led to the accident, and notes about factors such as road conditions or traffic signals. All of this information can be helpful in determining who was at fault in the accident or beginning research to support a personal injury case. As such, you may want a copy of it for your attorney.
Insurance companies may also ask for copies of a police report. Providing a copy of the report may be a required step in filing a claim so that your insurance company can pay for any damages associated with an accident if necessary.
Requesting a Copy of the Report Directly From the Police
Start your quest for a copy of a police accident report by requesting it directly from the police department in question. You have a couple of options for doing this:
- Call the police station. You may be able to request a police report over the phone. Find out which station the officer in question reports through and give them a call. Even if you can’t request a report via phone, the representative at the station can provide instructions for the best option for requesting a report.
- Visit the police station. Go to the police station in person and say you would like to request an accident report. You may need to complete a form or provide some information. They may be able to print the report for you right there or might say that the report will arrive in the mail.
- Make a request through the police department’s website. Many local police departments in the state have options for requesting police accident reports online. Search for the police department in question and browse the website for a report request option.
In all of these cases, you may need to pay a fee for the report. Generally, these fees are nominal and designed to cover the administrative costs of searching for, printing and providing the report. Expect to pay $10 to $20 on average for a copy of your police report in jurisdictions that charge fees.
Can You Get an Accident Report From the State Police?
If the officer who responded to your accident site was a state trooper, you can request a crash report through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. You can also do this for any accident report that was filed with the RMV, and that might include reports from other law enforcement agencies.
To request an accident report from the RMV, you’ll need to complete an online form and pay $20 for a crash report search fee. This fee covers the cost of the search. If no accident report is found, it is not refundable. However, the RMV keeps the search on file for 90 days, so if an accident report is filed during that time that matches your search, you’ll get a copy of it.
What Information Do You Need so You Can Request a Copy of a Police Accident Report?
You’ll need to provide enough information to identify the report. The date and location of the accident and who was involved in it are typically enough. The officer who responded to your accident scene might also give you his or her name and a reference number for the accident, and these details can also be helpful.
Can You Request Accident Reports for Any Accident?
You can’t just collect accident reports for random data-gathering purposes. Typically, you must be one of the people involved in the accident to request a report. In many cases, if you’re requesting the accident report on behalf of someone involved, you can file a request.
For example, a parent might request the accident report for an accident their minor child was in. Or an adult child who is helping their older loved one with insurance paperwork might file a request. In some cases, your lawyer might request a report on your behalf.
The details associated with requesting accident reports can vary slightly by jurisdiction and agency. Check with your local police department or other law enforcement agency to find out about specifics related to who can ask for a report, how you do so, and what costs you might incur.
Get Help With Your Car Accident Case
Requesting the police report for your car accident is just one of many tasks involved in seeking compensation for damages. If someone else was at fault in your accident, don’t face their insurance company alone. Consider working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help protect your rights and fight for the compensation you deserve.
The team at Contant Law can help. Give us a call at 617-227-8383 to schedule an appointment about your case.