How to Get a Copy of Your Police Accident Report in Chattanooga, TN
Aside from the photos at the accident scene, perhaps one of the most crucial pieces of evidence you can obtain after a car accident in Tennessee is the police report. Also referred to as the crash report or auto incident report, this helpful item of documentation creates an official record of your accident, and it provides you with much of the basic information needed for your car accident claim.
At The Davis Firm, LLC, our helpful personal injury lawyers are here to guide people who are suffering after a serious car accident in the Chattanooga area. We work to educate crash victims and ensure they have the information they need to make smart decisions about their personal injury claims. If you need help obtaining a copy of your crash report and are ready to talk about your legal options, please contact our Chattanooga auto accident attorneys today.
Steps to Take to Get a Copy of Your Police Report
If you need to get your police accident report in Chattanooga, here are some quick tips to help you out.
To get a police accident report anywhere in the state, you can go to the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) and pay $4.00 for a copy of the report. It should take no more than about 7 days.
For accidents in the Chattanooga region, you can mail your request to:
Chattanooga Highway Patrol Office
4120 Cummings Highway
Chattanooga TN 37419
Phone: (423) 634-6890
It is generally wise to call in advance to make sure you are providing all the information the agency needs in order to locate your report. Be sure to let the agency know where you want the report sent.
In Chattanooga City Limits
If your crash took place within the City of Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Police Department responded, then you can stop by 3410 Amnicola Highway (The Police Service Center) to get a copy of your report. Again, you should call (423) 643-5000 in advance to make sure the report has been completed and is ready before making the trip.
In Hamilton County
Outside the city limits or anywhere in the county, you can obtain police reports completed by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office by going online to request them here. Just keep in mind that the investigating officer will generally take a day or two to complete the report after the crash. So, if you make your request on the same day or within a day or two of the collision, you may not get much of a response.
It is best to wait a few days, call the local law enforcement agency, and check the status. If it is ready, then make your request. If it is urgent, get it in person. You can call the sheriff’s office at (423) 209-7000.
What Is Included in a Police Report?
A police report will contain a lot of helpful information. The officer who investigated the scene of your accident will have gathered important information for the report, which can be useful in crafting your personal injury claim. Here are just a few of the key items included in the typical police accident report:
- Names of the drivers – If someone else hit you, then you will need to make sure you have their correct legal name in order to report your claim to their insurance company. When the police gather driver’s licenses, insurance information, and other documentation at the scene, they are verifying everyone’s identity.
- Names of passengers – In many cases, there will be others involved who are not necessarily drivers or vehicle owners. If passengers are on scene, the police will get their information as well.
- Documenting injuries – If there are injured parties, including yourself, who are transported via ambulance to a hospital, then this information will usually be documented in the accident report.
- Insurance policies – The police report should include the name of the insurance companies involved, the policy numbers, and typically a contact phone number.
- Citations – While a traffic ticket by itself does not necessarily mean you will succeed in your claim for injuries, it is still very helpful to show that the other driver was not acting reasonably. If the other driver was cited for something like speeding or failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision, then you will see that on the report.
- Witnesses – Maybe the most helpful part of the whole report is the section that lists witnesses. There, you will find the names (and often the numbers) of anyone who witnessed the crash. Sadly, many people just keep going. But those who stay behind to speak with the police are Good Samaritans who are often willing to testify later.
- Narrative – Finally, the investigating officer will draft a narrative, summarizing what the officer saw, what statements were made, and whether a determination about fault could be made.
How Our Chattanooga Car Accident Attorneys Can Help
Although you certainly can get your own police crash report, there are often strategic advantages to having a skilled Chattanooga injury attorneys at The Davis Firm, LLC from the very start. For instance, the police report is a great starting place, but it does not get you everything. An attorney may be able to assist with pulling other public records and gathering critical evidence. For example, a Freedom of Information Act request may be helpful to get police dash cam or body cam video showing an intoxicated driver’s careless conduct. A 911 recording may include helpful information about the scene of the accident or what a witness saw.
Ultimately, there is no substitute for an experienced Tennessee car accident lawyer. If you have suffered injuries in a car crash in Chattanooga, contact The Davis Firm, LLC, today, and speak with an attorney about your case. An initial consultation with our legal team is free, and we never take a fee unless we successfully have the car accident settlement for your case. So please give us a call today, and let us take some of the burdens off of you.