How Do I Obtain the Police Report for My Car Accident in TN?
Posted in Car accidents on June 25, 2019
After a car accident, some drivers might want to request a copy of their police report. A police report is the documentation an officer fills out while responding to your call. Typically, the report contains details surrounding your collision, including information on all individuals involved. Police reports are unique because they also give you and your Nashville car accident lawyer insight into the officer’s opinions and observations about the situation, including aspects of the collision that you might not have noticed before.
In Tennessee, all drivers involved in a collision must report their accident to law enforcement if it resulted in any form of injury, death, or property damage over $50. If the property damage totals $400 or more, drivers must submit an Owner/Driver Report to the Tennessee Department of Homeland Security within 20 days.
Why Do I Need My Police Report?
Police reports contain useful information pertaining to an accident. For instance, they possess the accident details, the drivers involved, and even information on potential eye witnesses. Details like these are essential in insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits, though reports are inadmissible during court trials. Because Tennessee is a fault-based insurance state, drivers responsible for less than 50% of an accident can file a claim to recover damages from the other driver.
Police reports are not only helpful during claims investigations as evidence – they also give a third-party account of the accident that can be used to combat false statements given by the other driver. In desperate times, some drivers lie about certain contextual aspects of a collision. Obtaining a police report gives you, and your attorney, the opportunity to cross-reference different accounts of the event. This unbiased summary of your car accident helps when pursuing in insurance-based claim because it allows claims adjustors to verify facts.
Steps to Request the Report
Several options are available for requesting a copy of your accident’s police report.
- Tennessee highway patrol (THP) – You can request a copy of your report from the THP one week after the accident. When making the request, you must provide the date of the accident, the county where it took place, and the names of the drivers involved. You must submit this information, four dollars, and a request form to the District Office of the county in which the accident occurred.
- Local law enforcement – If you reported your accident to a local law enforcement agency (rather than THP), you must request your records from the police station that the officer that wrote the report works out of. This local office will communicate their specific fees and forms associated with requesting the report. After processing, you can pick up the report yourself or request the police station mail it to you.
- Department of Homeland Safety – If the THP wrote your report, you can also contact the Department of Homeland Safety 30 days after the incident for $4. If an alternative agency investigated your accident, you can request the report 60 days after the incident for the same fee.
- Online – You can obtain the report for your Tennessee-based accident on buycrash.com. You will need to provide the last name of one of the driver’s involved, the date of the accident, the name of the agency that investigated your accident, and other additional details. This service typically charges $10 for each copy.
Obtaining a report in Tennessee is simple, with multiple modes of retrieval available for drivers to exhaust. When investigating the details surrounding an accident, a police report can be a vital source of information. Those pursuing compensation through insurance claims and personal injury suits benefit from having this third-party perspective on the incident.