Getting an Accident Report in Louisiana
After you’ve been in a car accident, the last thing on your mind is getting the police report about the incident. You’re probably worried about your injuries, or those of your passengers, the damage to your car, and contacting your insurance company. One of the things your insurance company will want is that accident report.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we know that you won’t be thinking about these things after an accident, so we’re here to help you think about them before it happens. Here is how you can get an accident report in Louisiana if you’re involved in a vehicle accident.
The responding officer should provide you with the report number at the time of the accident. Usually, the officer will give you a contact card with their name, badge or ID number, and the report number. If they don’t, you should ask for it when you are asking for the other driver’s information.
If you are not able to get this information, try to remember which agency or agencies responded to the accident scene. It is possible that several departments arrived at the accident. For instance, if you were inside city boundaries, the city police may be the responders. Outside of town, the sheriffs or state police or both may respond. All of the agencies may have their own reports.
After the Accident
It may take up to ten days for a report to be filed after your accident. When you contact the department to see if the report is available yet, you will need the name or ID of at least one of the drivers, or the case number given to you at the time of the accident.
If you’re not sure who took the report, or it has been more than a week since the accident, you can look for it online.
If the accident happened on a non-toll road, and you have the report number, the driver’s license number, or the license plate number, you can get the state police report at their website. There is a fee for accessing the report. The state police advise it may take up to 15 days for the report to be available.
If the state police took photographs, those will be available separately, and will not be available until at least 15 days after the accident. Photographs must be requested separately via fax or mail. They are not available online according to the most recent information.
Some cities, such as New Orleans, also have their accident reports available online. You will still need your report number and other information. The best way to obtain your accident report is to contact the agency by phone or mail and request it directly. If you do not have the report number, provide as much information about the accident as you can, including the names of the parties, the date and time of the accident, the location, and the makes and models of the vehicles.
What if I Can’t Locate the Report?
If you can’t recall what agency responded, or you can’t find it by contacting the department you think was on scene, you may need to contact an attorney. If an officer was on scene, a report was generated, so it could be that the responding agency filed it under a different number or in a different parish.
Your attorney can make requests to multiple agencies to track down the report, and also inquire with the insurance company to see if they have received the report from the other party. Frequently, the problem is as simple as a transposed number.
How an Attorney Can Help
An accident report is necessary so your insurance carrier can determine the causes of the accident and determine the degree of fault and liability to assign to each party. Your attorney will use the report to contact the other party and their attorney and to reconstruct the accident scene and timeline.
The accident report is the first step in building your personal injury case and helping you get the fair compensation that you need to heal your injuries and repair your property.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, and want to request an accident report, you can contact the Lake Charles car accident lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC at 337-800-8800 today. We provide a free and confidential consultation on your case and can advise you of the best way to access your police report so your case can begin moving forward. Call or contact us today.