After a car wreck, the most important item you will need is a police report. The law in Alabama requires Alabama police to create a written report if a person is injured or fatally harmed in a car wreck. A police report is also required if there was more than $250 in property damage.
Therefore, it is extremely important to get a copy of the investigating officer’s report, as any legal claim with an insurance carrier requires it. Obtaining the wreck report enhances your likelihood of having a fair settlement. Insurance adjusters typically use wreck reports when deciding fault after investigating claims.
Creating a claim against the at-fault driver will be an uphill battle, as your claim will be considered half-finished without a report. You also risk your claims’ denial or even small settlement offers during negotiations with the insurance carrier.
Ways to Get Your Police Report
A wreck report can be acquired in many ways. If the Birmingham Police Department answered your car wreck or a police department in a different area of the state, the police report can be obtained by the following:
1. Going online to alea.gov.
2. Written request of the report via mail.
3. In-person trip to the police department.
4. Ask your attorney to get a copy.
5. Have your insurance carrier give you a copy.
The above-mentioned methods can help gather a wreck report. However, in much smaller municipalities/counties, there typically lacks an online presence to get a report. A visit to the police department or a written request through the mail are usually the main options.
Keep in mind that wreck reports take many days to become available after your wreck. As specified by the Birmingham Police Department, it may require anywhere from seven to ten business days.
1. Visit Online At ALEA.GOV
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s (ALEA) website is a convenient way to obtain your wreck report. The fee for a downloadable report is $17.00 ($15.00 per report as directed by Alabama statute, plus a $2.00 per report processing fee). ALEA accepts all major credit cards (American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa).
Contact the police department that created the wreck report if you are unable to locate your report online. It is also helpful to ask the police department if they use an online system for recording wreck reports.
2. Written Request By Mail
It is also possible to obtain a wreck report from the Alabama Department of Public Safety via mail. For a fee, you can get a copy of your wreck report from the office that investigated your wreck. You can get the report by printing and filling out the form at this link: Crash Report Request. Then you mail your completed form and a $15 money order (not a check) to: Department of Public Safety Crash Reports P.O. Box 1471 Montgomery, Alabama 36102-1471
Be sure to include the other driver's full name, driver's license number (if you get it), the date of the wreck, and the county where the wreck happened.
3. In-Person Trip to The Police Department
A trip to the police department that created the wreck report is another way to obtain your report. You must make a request to the desk clerk about how to obtain one. Many times, you only need to have the report identification number or specific details about the wreck (i.e., date, time, location, and amount of drivers involved). As for Birmingham Police, you can stop by the police department’s Record’s Division to complete a request form to get the report.
4. Get Your Attorney to Attain A Copy
Once you hire an attorney regarding your car wreck case, they should be completing arduous tasks for you. Attorneys do not only obtain wreck reports, but help get key evidence to propel your case. Attorneys also interview witnesses to the wreck and extract important data from electronic mechanisms to gain video coverage to enhance the merits of your case.
5. Have Your Insurance Carrier Get A Copy
Requesting the wreck report from your insurance carrier is also an option after your car wreck. If they have a copy, many times they do not mind sending you a free copy.
Ways Car Wreck Reports Help Your Case
Alabama wreck reports consist of the following items:
Date/time of the wreck
Each drivers’ insurance carrier and policy number
Road, weather, and lighting conditions
Witnesses, along with contact information
Investigating Officer’s Decision of Fault
Furthermore, a wreck report can include the investigating officer’s decision as to what caused the wreck and which driver was at fault. There can be eyewitness statements and accompanying contact details. This is why it is extremely important to get the wreck report. That way, you are aware of any negative evidence that may lead to damaging results within your claim. This information gives your attorney a head-start to obtain evidence required to refute the investigating officer and/or eyewitnesses’ statements.
Give Us A Call
Car wrecks are terrifying and highly stressful. If you have injuries, contact a seasoned attorney, and we will ease the stress by working to enhance the merits of your case for maximum results.
Many do not possess the experience and savvy needed to succeed against insurance carriers, adjusters, and attorneys. Car wreck lawyers possess tons of mastery and wisdom into how the insurance industry works and will fight tirelessly for you. Any negative information on your car wreck report will be disproved with intention and effective results on your behalf.
Even if the insurance carrier refuses to offer you a fair amount for your physical injuries, lost wages, and damages, we at the Bryant Law Firm, can advise you with the best options to maximize your case.
We work compassionately with you to protect your legal rights, guiding you every step of the way. We are ready to protect your lost wages, payment of medical bills, and any additional issues, such as your pain and suffering claim.
Taking on an insurance carrier by yourself is nerve-wracking and time-consuming; especially, after the strain of a wreck. Contact the Bryant Law Firm and our team at (205)267-8561 for your free consultation. We are here to ease your anxiety, so you can focus on your physical well-being and loved ones.