How to File a Report After a Car Accident in Phoenix
By Zachary Mushkatel on October 16, 2018
After a Phoenix car accident, there are some steps you need to take in order to protect your rights to full and fair compensation for the damages you have suffered. One of the big things you will need to do is file a car accident report. The law enforcement officers who respond to the scene will help with this, but you must make sure to contact them right away.
How Do You File a Report After a Car Accident in Phoenix?
When you call 9-1-1 after an accident, police and other emergency services will be dispatched to the scene, where officers will perform an investigation to determine who was at fault, how the crash happened, and who was involved. Next, the officers will file an accident report that could serve as crucial evidence in your claim. Sometimes you will have to wait a few days to obtain a copy of the official report.
What to Do at the Scene
First, call 9-1-1 and make sure emergency personnel are en route. This serves many purposes. If anyone is hurt, paramedics will be able to help and render aid. Having police present will also diffuse tensions and help to avoid any potential fights or conflicts. Finally, having the police on scene ensures that the crash is formally documented. Here are some things you will need to do:
- Give your name and contact information
- Supply your driver’s license to police or the other driver (if police do not respond)
- Collect as much information as you can about the other driver(s), witnesses, and vehicles involved (get license plate numbers, descriptions, photos, etc.)
Why Is a Police Report Important?
A police report will contain crucial information about the crash, including names and contact information for all other involved parties, such as drivers, passengers, and any witnesses who may have spoken to the police or given statements. The report should also contain auto insurance policy information collected by the police on the scene. Here is why all this information is so important:
- Without a report, you may not be able to identify the other driver involved.
- Without a report, an insurance company may deny the crash even happened.
- Without a report, the insurance company may argue the crash must not have been serious enough to produce injuries. After all, an insurance company will argue that if a crash were serious enough to cause injuries, then you would have called for help.
Information Contained in a Police Report
Auto accident police reports must contain certain information. Most reports will contain the following:
- Names of all parties
- Date and time of the accident
- Description of the location where the accident occurred
- Addresses for parties involved
- Phone numbers of the drivers involved
- Drivers’ license numbers for the drivers involved
- Witnesses’ names and contact information
- Insurance policy information for the vehicles involved
- Any citations issued to people involved
- Name of the officer who responded and created the report
- Narrative description of the crash, often with a visual drawing or sketch
- Other relevant and helpful information
How Long Do I Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?
As a general rule, you should report a crash right away. You should stay at the scene until police arrive so a report can be filed immediately. Answer their questions clearly and honestly, and be sure to get the report number from the officer.
Under Arizona law, law enforcement must respond and complete the report at the scene or within 24 hours of finishing their investigation.
How to Obtain the Police Report
If you contact an experienced auto accident attorney, your lawyer can assist you in getting a copy of the police report. However, you can get it on your own, usually as early as the day after your accident. Here are some resources for obtaining your police report, depending on which agency responded to your crash:
- Phoenix Police Department
- Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
- Arizona Department of Public Safety (State Troopers)
- Glendale Police Department
- Scottsdale Police Department
- Tempe Police Department
Compensation for Your Injury Claim in Phoenix, AZ
Following an auto accident, there are a lot of things you’ll need to take care of. But the most important will be seeking immediate medical care. While you focus on your health, a knowledgeable Arizona car accident lawyer can begin building a case for compensation from the at-fault party. Compensation can include money for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disfigurement and disability
If you’ve lost a loved one in a crash, you and your family may have additional rights to collect money for:
- Lost financial and emotional support
- Loss of love and affection
- Loss of companionship and household services
- Funeral expenses
- Burial costs
- Final medical expenses
One of the first steps your attorney will take in investigating your claim will be to obtain the police accident report. This will be used along with all the other evidence your legal team gathers to build a strong case for compensation.
When the Stakes Are High, Experience Counts
The knowledgeable car accident attorneys of Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, bring a service-based approach to injured clients throughout Glendale, Surprise, Peoria, Phoenix and the West Valley. Our team will put decades of collective legal experience and wisdom to work for you and your family.
When you hire our experienced team of legal professionals, you level the playing field and put the insurance company on notice that you will not take a lowball offer, you will not be intimidated into settling for less than your case is worth, and you will not be bullied by aggressive insurance claims handlers.
Let one of our attorneys handle the negotiations for you. We never take a fee unless we can successfully recover compensation for you and your family, and we don’t charge for consultations. Time is limited, though, as there are strict statutes of limitations that can bar you from recovering if you wait too long. So act now. Contact us to get started today.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.