If you have never been in a car accident before, you may not be sure what to do regarding police officers. Do they need to be at the scene of the accident? Do you need to tell them everything that happened with the accident? How do you talk to police officers? Following an accident, it can truly add a great deal of stress to work with police officers. This is no longer a minor car accident that you are working out with the other driver. Law enforcement is involved and there will now be a police record. You must learn what you should do and how you should act with police officers following a car accident you are involved in. 

What are you required to do after a car accident? 

The police may show up to your accident in one of two ways: someone (you, the other party, or a witness) called them to come to the scene or a police officer was driving by and pulled over to the scene. Often, if there is a significant amount of property damage or there are injuries or a person’s death, you might be required by law to call police officers to a scene. 

When police officers do come to the scene, it is important that you know what you should–and are legally obligated–to say. 

Do I have to tell them every detail of the accident? 

Less is often better in these situations. You might believe that you are legally obligated to go through the accident, step by step. Police officers often ask open-ended questions and this can make a person feel that they need to keep talking to fill the silence. While you may not be legally obligated to tell them every detail of the accident, you should provide them with simple details. This includes your name, contact information, license, insurance, and your car’s registration. If you refuse to comply with anything, you could be looking at criminal charges. It is crucial that while you do not fill them in on every detail, you are not rude. This can only work against you. Provide your basic information and say that any further information you want to provide will be done through your lawyer.

Can I get a copy of the police report? 

You do have the right to obtain a copy of the police report. This is typically within 10 days of the accident. You can speak with your lawyer about getting this and it is possible to get the police officer to revise a report if you see mistakes or information that is obviously left out. This report will be valuable when it comes to making your claim to insurance. 

Working with officers at the scene of an accident can feel daunting. You want to make sure you say the right things and you want to know that you are not saying things that will eventually be used against you. Speak with a lawyer you can rely on when you want to learn more about working with law enforcement following your car accident.