How to Obtain a Copy of a Missouri Police Report
After a car accident, one of the items that you will be on your to-do list is obtaining a police report. These reports are vital when filing a personal injury claim, as they provide a record of the accident and serve as evidence to validate your claim. Here, our Missouri personal injury attorneys help explain the process of obtaining a Missouri police report and explain what to do if there is a mistake on your report.
What Is Found in a Police Report?
A police report, also known as an accident report, is a document created by law enforcement officers to record information about an accident. These reports serve as an official record of events and are typically generated after an officer responds to a call.
A police report contains detailed information about the incident, including the date, time, and location of the event, as well as the individuals involved, witnesses, and any evidence or property affected.
When filing a personal injury claim, a Missouri police report will help with the following:
- Establishing liability: an accident report will include details about how the accident occurred, witness statements, and any citations issued. The report may include crucial details such as weather conditions, road conditions, and statements from involved parties.
- Objective documentation: police reports are considered objective third-party documentation of an accident. This unbiased account of what happened is important when presenting your case in court. Your attorney will also use this information when starting your claim. An unbiased account from law enforcement will also help if there are disputes during the personal injury claim process.
- Corroborating injuries: injuries are often noted in police reports. If you sought immediate medical attention or mentioned your injuries to the responding officer, it can help establish a connection between the accident and your injuries.
- Insurance claim support: When filing an insurance claim, submitting a police report can strengthen your case. Insurance adjusters rely on police reports to evaluate the accident and assess the extent of damages. Details in the report will also be used to determine fault.
It’s important to note that while police reports are valuable, other evidence, such as medical records, photographs, witness statements, and expert opinions, may also be necessary to build a successful personal injury claim.
Where Do I Obtain a Missouri Police Report?
After an accident, it is your responsibility to get your own police report. The responding law enforcement officer will often provide you with the information on how to get your accident report. By following the steps outlined below, you can obtain your Missouri police report.
- Contact the law enforcement agency
Determine which law enforcement agency responded to the accident. This will vary based on your location. Note that it usually takes 3-5 business days for a report to generate. It could be the local police department, county sheriff’s office, or the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP). Make sure you have the necessary information about the accident, such as the date, time, and location.
- Visit the law enforcement agency website
Many law enforcement agencies in Missouri provide accident report request forms on their websites. Look for the “Records” or “Reports” section on their site to find the appropriate form or information on how to request an accident report.
- Complete and submit the form request
Send the completed accident report request form to the law enforcement agency through the designated method mentioned on their website. Some law enforcement offices, such as the St. Joseph Police Department, allow for records to be obtained in person. Before submitting the form request, make sure the information you entered is correct.
- Pay any required fees
Some law enforcement agencies may charge a fee for providing accident reports. Ensure that you include the appropriate payment, if applicable, with your request. The fee amount and acceptable payment methods are typically specified on the agency’s website or in their instructions.
- Follow up if needed
After submitting your request, allow some time for the law enforcement agency to process it. If you haven’t received a response within a reasonable timeframe, consider contacting them directly to inquire about the status of your request.
What Happens If a Missouri Police Report Is Inaccurate?
A Missouri police report should not be regarded as the ultimate account of an accident. These reports may contain factual errors, such as inaccuracies regarding the accident’s location or the type of vehicle involved. There may be instances where you disagree with the conclusions of the investigating officer, especially if you or someone else received a ticket for violating a traffic law.
To avoid issues with inaccuracies on an accident report, if you are involved in an accident it is best to write down and record your account of the accident as soon as possible. Be sure to include photos and videos. It will be easier to file a successful personal injury claim if you have more proof to support your claim.
It is rare for an investigating officer to change details in an accident report after the report is published. However, insurance companies will use the accident report to assess a claim. Gathering the additional evidence mentioned above will be used to counter an inaccurate police report. If you have questions regarding the accuracy of a police report, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Contact Patterson Legal Group
Getting a copy of the police report is a crucial first step in filing a personal injury claim. By gathering this information and additional evidence, your attorney will be able to prove the other party was at fault and help you win the compensation you deserve. If you’re having difficulty tracking down a police report, Patterson Legal Group can help with that and all your other legal needs.
Patterson Legal Group has more than 75 years of combined experience successfully representing injury victims in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. We have a track record of winning superior settlements for our clients. Our firm offers free consultations and works on a “no win, no fee” basis, which means that you do not pay a dime unless money has been recovered on your behalf.
To get started on your free consultation, call us 24/7 at (816) 920-0000. You can also fill out this contact form or reach out via LiveChat.