The Importance of the Police Report
David: Welcome back to SCV today, and I'm going to just bring right in Robert Mansour. We've had him on the program before, from the law offices of Robert Mansour. But this is really cool because, I've experienced what we're going to talk about. You've got the ten insurance company secrets that they don't want you to know about. You've got a list here.
David: And we're going to go through these things because this is fascinating stuff. And this first one really surprised me. Insurance companies don't want you to get a police report after an accident?
Robert: That's right. And there's several reasons for that. The first reason is if you don't have a police report, you haven't documented the event. So sometimes they'll even deny that anything even happened. Or their client, their insured, will say, "I wasn't there. I don't know what you're talking about. I was at the ballgame. I went to the Kings game." And so, also, they don't want you to have a police report because the other party can change their story. If the police report documents what happened, the other guy can't wiggle out of what happened. So when a client comes to me and says, "I didn't have the police report." I say, "Watch their story change. They apologize to you at the scene for causing the accident, but now that there's no police report, they're going to change their story. Let's watch how it unfolds." And I would say 50 percent of the time, the other party, indeed, changes their story. And the last reason they don't want a police report is because if you tell the officer you were injured and the officer writes it down, it lends more credibility to your assertion that you were injured. But the absence of a police report, they will assume you weren't injured, otherwise you would have called the police. And so they will use it against you.
Tami: Now what is the time frame for filing a police report because my automatic assumption is you must do it within an hour of an incident.
Robert: You should do it at the scene. If you suspect that you were injured, even a little bit. See most people don't call the police. They think their head has to fall off their body and roll down the street to call the police. You call the police if you think you've been injured, or if you think there's going to be a dispute in liability. Get the police down there. And, filing a police report a few days later is not really helpful. It's just you going down to the station telling your version of the story. It doesn't really help very much. So you should do it right there at the scene. The officers will ask you over the phone, "Was anybody injured?" If you say no, they're not coming. But if you say, "I think I may be injured," which might be true if you feel something. Because sometimes these injuries don't manifest themselves until the next day. And so you should always err on the side of caution, in my opinion.
Tami: So to protect yourself, if there are no injuries, but there's some damage, because a lot of times you can have quite a bit of damage but no injuries, and they're not going to send someone out, should you go directly to the police department then and file it there?
Robert: If you feel that the other side is going to change their story, you might want to preserve it. But again, it's really not of much importance if you go down to the police and tell them what you think happened ...
Robert: ... versus an officer investigating at the scene ...
Robert: ... and talking to everybody ...
Robert: ... and writing everything down.
Tami: So get the police department there on scene?
Robert: I think that's a good idea.
Robert: Especially if you feel that you might have been injured.
If you need help with your personal injury case, call Robert Mansour at (661) 414-7100 to see if he can help. Robert will let you know if he can bring value to your case. Also, if you have questions, don't hesitate to call. Robert serves Santa Clarita and its surrounding communities (Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic, Palmdale, Lancaster, Northridge, Chatsworth, Granada Hills, North Hollywood, and beyond).
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia,