If you get into a motor vehicle accident, the police report can provide a staple piece of evidence for your automobile insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. The police report contains important information about the accident from an unbiased law enforcement officer. Most insurance companies ask for a copy of your police report to process a claim. Find out how to obtain a certified copy of this document after a car accident in Omaha, Nebraska.
Call the Police From the Scene of the Accident
First, you will need to make sure that a police report is drawn up. The only way to do this is by contacting the local police station as soon as possible after your collision. Best practice is to use your cell phone to call 911 while still at the scene of the accident. This is legally required by Nebraska Revised Statute 60-699 if a car accident causes any injuries, deaths or property damage in excess of $1,000. Even if your accident is minor, calling the police can help you document the crash with an official report.
When the police arrive at the scene of the accident, give them your side of the story but do not admit fault for the collision. Do not speculate about the facts of the crash, such as who is responsible. Stick to the facts as you know them to be true. Also, do not answer any questions about your injuries right away. Instead, state that you are not sure if you are injured and will be going to a hospital in Omaha.
Wait Up to 10 Days
It may take up to 10 days for the responding police officer to submit the accident report to the law enforcement office and for them to process the paperwork. It could take less time than this, however, depending on the case. You can call as soon as the day after your accident to check to see if the report is available, but expect to wait a few days, if necessary.
You are also legally required to report the accident to the Nebraska Department of Transportation within 10 days if it meets any of the above-mentioned parameters. You can report your accident online, in person to the nearest office, by mail to “Highway Safety, Nebraska Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 94759, Lincoln, NE 68509-4759,” or by calling (402) 479-4645.
Call Your County’s Police Office
Once the investigating officer’s accident report is processed, it will become public information. If you are a party that was directly involved in the crash or a relative of someone who was involved, you can call the law enforcement office and purchase a certified copy of your accident report. You can also give your car accident lawyer permission to obtain the record for you. The current price for a certified copy is $13.00 plus tax.
The correct office is the one in the county where the car accident took place. You will need the following information for the clerk to locate your accident report:
- The date of the collision
- The location of the crash, including the county
- The name of the motor vehicle driver
You can either call the law enforcement office or send a written letter to their mailing address with a check to obtain a copy. Note that you can only access your own accident report, not the other driver’s. Every report is confidential and only accessible by certain parties. If you were required to file a report with the Nebraska Department of Transportation, you can also obtain a copy of this report by searching for it on their website.
Why Do You Need a Copy of Your Police Report?
A police report can help you prove details of your accident to an insurance company, such as which direction both vehicles were traveling. It may also contain the police officer’s opinion on the cause of the crash. While this won’t confirm liability in itself, it could be used as evidence against the other driver. For further assistance proving a car accident case in Omaha, consult with an attorney today.