Determining what to do immediately following a traffic accident can seem overwhelming. You may be suffering from a variety of injuries and not know what to do. After you’ve called 911 and received emergency medical attention, you’ll need to make sure that an official police report has been prepared.
If you decide to go forward with the help of a car accident attorney, they will take the necessary steps to gather evidence and build a case so that you can get the compensation you deserve if you have been wrongfully injured.. While they will handle tracking down the majority of the evidence needed to support your claim, it’s good to know how to obtain a police report after a collision in Illinois. It’s likely both your lawyer and the insurance company will need the information recorded by the police officer at the time of the crash. The process is different for every state, and understanding how it works in your area can speed up the litigation process.
Knowing When to File a Police Report After a Collision
You can only access a police report after a wreck if one was filed. In Illinois, each driver is required to file a crash report under certain circumstances, which include the accident resulted in bodily injury, death, or more than $1,500 in property damage when all drivers are insured. If any driver is uninsured, the threshold is $500.
If an officer arrives at the scene to prepare a report, explain what you believed happen but refrain from apologizing. It’s normal to regret a situation, but if you were not at fault for the crash an apology can seem like an admission of guilt. After you speak with the officer, be sure to write down their name, badge number, and the agency of law enforcement they’re with for your record. You should be able to contact that agency within a few days to request an official copy of the report.
In some situations, a police officer may not arrive at the scene of the accident. This is only likely in the event of property damage that doesn’t prevent the vehicles from moving. If that’s the case and a report still needs to be filed, you must do so with the local police department, sheriff’s office, or Illinois State Police as soon as possible following the event.
Accessing an Illinois Traffic Crash Report
A standard police report for a car accident contains the following information:
- Place and time of the crash
- The name, address, and date of birth for all drivers involved
- Driver license information
- License plate numbers
- Insurance information
- The contact information of all registered automobile owners
- An explanation of what happened
Your lawyer and the insurance company will use this information, in conjunction with other evidence, to determine whether or not the automobile accident was or wasn’t your fault. There are two ways to obtain a police report through the Illinois State Police: online or by mail. If your accident occurred on a municipal street, you’ll want to call the local police station to learn how they handle report requests.
Getting an Accident Report Online
You can use the Illinois State Police website to obtain a traffic crash report through a service called E-Pay. There is a service fee added to crash reports requested this way and you have to verify the Illinois State Police handled the crash. This information is located on the motorist report. If you do not have a copy of that report, you can contact the Illinois State Police Patrol Records Unit.
It’s important to note that the report you receive will be a redacted version. It can take 10 or more business days to process a request, so you may be waiting a while until you receive a copy in your email. To speed up the process, you’ll want to make sure you include the agency crash report number, driver’s first and last name, date and location of the crash, and county of occurrence in your request.
Obtaining Copies of a Police Report by Mail
You can also request a copy of the police report via the postal service. Unlike obtaining a copy through E-Pay, you can receive an unredacted version of the traffic accident report. To do so, you must send a subpoena or an order signed by a judge along with your request. Your request must contain the agency crash report number, information on the date, location, and parties involved, a check for payment, and a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
Contact Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP
Once your lawyer has the police report and other relevant evidence, they can begin building a strong case on your behalf. While they do that, you can focus your energy on recovery from your injuries and getting back to your everyday life. To learn more about the car accident claim process, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer at Schweickert Ganassin Krzak Rundio, LLP today.