In Michigan, you are required by state law – MCL 257.622 - to report any accident that results in an injury, death or property damages that totals $1,000 or more. However, if there is little to no damage and no injuries, such as with a minor fender bender, you do not have to report the incident. Even in a minor fender bender, you may suffer injuries, which is why contacting the police for most accidents may benefit you.
Jay Trucks discusses police reports, including what information they contain, when you must file one and what you should do if you find your report contains one or more mistakes.
If you need legal help after a car accident, our knowledgeable lawyers are prepared to help. Call our firm to discuss your accident in the complimentary consultation we provide. Your questions are welcome, and there is no obligation if you decide not to move forward with a claim.
What Information is Included in a Police Report?
A police report supports your claim of the accident that occurred as well as the investigating officer’s observations regarding the crash.
Other important details include:
- The date, location and approximate time of the accident
- Names and contact details of those involved
- Insurance details of all drivers
- Contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Description and location of vehicle damage
- Diagram of the vehicles upon arriving at the scene
- Initial statements from both the involved drivers and others who witnessed the crash
- Any citations that were issued due to one or more traffic violations
When is a Police Report Needed?
You will need a copy of your police report for several reasons. Initially, when filing a claim for no-fault benefits, your insurer is likely to ask for a copy of the report. Providing them with this documentation may help to limit delays in getting your benefits started.
Your attorney will also need a copy of this report if you intend to pursue a lawsuit for additional damages, such as non-economic damages or excess economic damages. Your attorney can request this copy on his or her own as well, but if you provide this information up front, it can limit the delays in getting started with your potential case.
There are other times a police report is required by law, such as if a vehicle is brought in for repair with apparent damage from an accident. In this situation, the owner or manager of the repair shop must immediately notify the nearest police station or sheriff’s office. The report must include identifying information, such as the owner’s name and address, registration number and engine number.
What Can You Do if I Find an Error?
Police officers make mistakes, much like the rest of us, which means that errors on a police report can, and do, happen. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you order your accident report right away and then review it as soon as you receive it. The longer you wait to get and proof the report for accuracy, the harder it will be to correct any errors you may find.
If you do find one or more mistakes, you should take the following steps – without delay - to get them corrected:
- Deal with the Responding Officer Directly: Going over the officer’s head without giving him or her a chance to correct the mistake will likely result in pushback – and a delay – in getting the error corrected.
- Provide Proof that Back Your Claim: For example, if details about your vehicle are wrong, such as where the damage happened, provide a picture.
- Do Not Delay: As already stated, waiting to correct errors will make it more difficult to get any mistakes corrected.
- Written Statement: If the officer cannot or will not fix the errors, and you have done everything else you can to get it corrected, you can provide a well-written statement and ask that it be attached to your police report. This statement should not just be an opinion but should include any pictures or other details you have that support your claim.
- Hire an Attorney: Having a qualified attorney on your side can help to ensure your best interests are protected throughout the legal process.
How Do I Get a Copy of My Accident Report?
In most cases, you can request a copy of your report directly from the local law enforcement agency that responded to your accident.
If you prefer, you can also order a copy of your accident report online through the Michigan State Police Website. Reports on this site are provided by the Traffic Crash Purchasing System (TCPS). Please note that there is a $10 fee associated with this request. It takes two to three days for your report to become available, and if you do not have a case report number, you will be required to provide other identifying information.
Seek Legal Help From an Experienced Lawyer
Trying to figure out what you should do first after an accident can be difficult when you are trying to recover from your injuries and dealing with medical bills.
At Jay Trucks and Associates, we believe you should be able to focus solely on your recovery. Our team of legal professionals is dedicated to helping those injured due to the negligent acts of another. Contact our firm to seek legal help and learn more about how we may be able to help. Our representatives are available day or night to schedule your free legal consultation with one of our Grand Rapids car accident attorneys.
There is no obligation to pursue a claim, but if we represent you, you will not have any out-of-pocket costs to pay. We do not get paid for our services unless we recover compensation for you.
Free Consultation. Call (800) 762-8623