What is the Definition of an Incident Report?

What is the Definition of an Incident Report?

Posted by: Joanne Holcomb on May 9, 2023

Police reports are filed for a lot of different reasons, the most common being after a traffic accident. While this may be common knowledge, many people have no idea why police reports are important and why the insurance company is going to request a copy if you file a claim. 

Keep reading to understand more about what information is contained in a police report and how to get a copy after you have been involved in a car accident. If you still have questions or are having difficulty obtaining a copy of your report, reach out to the car accident lawyers at Local Accident Reports as soon as possible. At Local Accident Reports, we provide sound legal advice and support for traffic collision victims across the United States. We are committed to helping our clients receive the maximum amount of financial compensation for their injuries and other damages. 

What is a Police Incident Report?

What is the Definition of an Incident Report?

Almost every unfortunate vehicle-related incident requires the attention of local law enforcement. When responding officers report to the scene of a collision, they perform a routine investigation into the cause and outcome of the crash. The observations noted by the responding officer are compiled to create a formal police incident report, which, depending on where you live, you might know as a police crash report, collision report, or various other names. 

While the phrase “police report” might sound a little intimidating, the report itself is just a form on an administrative-looking piece of paper that is made up of various subheadings that will be filled in by the responding officer. It should have the police department’s seal stamped in the corner and a header noting the agency’s phone number and street address. 

What Information Will I Find in a Police Incident Report?

Your police incident report will contain information pertaining to the responding officer’s investigation into your car accident. Although they do vary from location to location, police incident reports generally include the following: 

  • The location, time, and date of the accident 
  • A brief description of traffic and weather conditions at the time the crash occurred, and other related details 
  • A description of all vehicles involved in the incident, such as the year, make, model, license plate number, and the vehicle’s registration status
  • The specifics of the crash, such as the kind of intersection or roadway where the accident took place, what kind of damage was caused, and whether or not negligence, drunkenness, or speeding are suspected
  • A sketch of the accident that includes any traffic lights, road signs, merge lanes, crosswalks, and more
  • The names and contact details of anyone who was injured, the degree of their injuries, and whether or not they received aid or transportation from emergency responders 
  • Notations regarding any property damage that resulted from the crash
  • The name, badge number, and agency of the responding officer

The exact information and amount of detail included in your police incident report will be somewhat different depending on where your accident took place. 

After being involved in a traffic collision, be sure that you give any details you feel may be important to the responding officer. Even seemingly insignificant observations about the behavior of the other driver or the events leading up to the crash could have a significant influence on the results of your court case or claim.

Do I Need a Police Incident Report to File a Claim?

In most circumstances, you will not need a police incident report in order to file an insurance claim unless you are seeking financial compensation for extensive damages or if your accident involved a hit-and-run driver. Nevertheless, not having a police incident report could potentially make it much more difficult for the insurance company to determine which driver is liable and the extent of the damages that occurred during the crash, both of which will cause a considerable hitch in the payout process or even reduce your total payout.

For instance, if you are struck by another driver at an intersection, your police incident report will clearly identify which driver ran the stop sign or traffic light. This will help you prove fault. If the report indicates that the other driver was to blame for the crash, you will most likely receive an insurance payout much faster. Without a police incident report, the insurance company is left to its own devices to establish fault based on little evidence and a lot of hearsay, which is not likely to be to your benefit. 

How Can I Get a Copy of My Police Incident Report?

Now that you have a pretty good idea of what information is included in a police incident report and why they are important, it may also be somewhat useful for you to know how you can go about obtaining a copy.  

Police incident reports and the process by which you obtain one will vary from one police precinct to the next, but generally speaking, you should be able to: 

  • Visit the relevant law enforcement agency’s incident report database, easily located with a cursory Google search. You can also obtain a copy of your report by filling out this form on our website. 
  • Find your police incident report in the database by entering your case number, vehicle identification number, driver’s license number, or the names of those involved in the crash. 
  • Once you located the appropriate report, pay any associated fees. This should grant you the ability to download the report.  
  • Save the report to your computer and print several copies for your personal records.
  • Include a copy of the police incident report in your insurance claim.

Unlike arrest reports and court records, police incident reports are not a matter of public record. This means you will most likely be required to show identification before you will be granted access.  

Contact an Experienced Traffic Collision Attorney Today

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, reach out to the car accident lawyers at Local Accident Reports. We have a well-earned track record of achieving positive results for our injured clients. Give us a call at (888) 657-1460 to schedule your free evaluation and find out what steps you need to take to protect your right to compensation.