Police Reports and Their Impact on Resolution
Whereas last week, I discussed the importance of being guarded when speaking with the claims representative of another driver following an accident, this week is more about tips when speaking with emergency responders following an accident caused by another.
First and foremost, always be cooperative and courteous when speaking with police who arrive at the scene of an accident. Understand that police come to the scene to help. However, to maximize the help they can provide (at least as far as it pertains to being made whole following an accident), you need to communicate with the responding officers.
One of the most important aspects of this communication is accurately describing any injuries you sustained. What many people don't understand is that a police report that follows an accident can be a key document in either helping you reach a quick resolution without the need to file a lawsuit. One of the major hangups we see within police reports are due to the injured party not being forthright about injuries they sustain. If you are hurting, you should communicate that to the police officer (note: this doesn't mean you have to take an ambulance from the scene; it's okay to be hurting and still choose not to request an ambulance).
When asked, many injured parties respond that they are "fine" despite being injured. The way that translates into a police report is "Driver reported she sustained no injuries." If, after a night's rest, that stiff neck or bruised knee requires an ER visit or a trip to the chiropractor, you don't want a claims adjustor later saying that you had previously stated you had no injuries or making accusations that you are inventing injuries. For these reasons, let officers know when you're in pain.