What is a Police Report Good For After a Tempe Car Crash?
Being involved in a Tempe car crash comes with a long list of stressors that can take up your life: doctor’s visits, visits to the therapist, visits to the pharmacy, and dealing with the stress of not being able to live life the way you once did or enjoy the things you once enjoyed. When you’re dealing with all of these stressors it can be difficult to think about moving forward legally. If you’ve never been involved in a collision before you may assume that the insurance company will take care of everything so you can focus on healing, but this is unfortunately not how it works. Instead, you’ll be responsible for a great deal of the work, including getting a hold of your police report, one of the most important documents related to your accident. Knowing where to get your police report and what to do with it once you have it can reduce your stress levels.
How to Get a Copy of the Police Report for Your Tempe Traffic Collision
When you are involved in a car crash in Tempe, an officer from the Tempe Police Department will respond to your collision, take your statement, and write up a report, known as the accident report, or police report. Being involved in a collision with a vehicle, you will most often hear your report referred to as an accident report as you go through the process of obtaining it, and this is a classification used to help the police department delineate between car crashes and other types of police reports. Because your crash happened within the city limits of Tempe, your report will be held in the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department.
In order to get a copy of the police report for your collision you will have to make a request through the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department. Currently, there are only two ways in which you can make a request for your police report after being involved in a car crash in Tempe: in person or by mail. The Records Section of the Tempe Police Department does not accept requests by e-mail, fax, telephone, or through online databases at this time. This means that you will need to account for the time it will take to fill out your request, to get it to the police department, and for it to be processed when you are figuring out your timeline. Assuming that your request could take up to 15 days or more to fully cycle around will help you figure out your timeline.
It is also important to note that no matter how you make your request for your records, if the final report has not been issued to the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department, either because it is too soon after the accident or because your accident required a significant amount of investigation, your request will remain unfulfilled until the final report is issued. In serious cases, this could mean weeks or months of waiting. This is especially true in cases where one driver left the scene of the accident and must be located and prosecuted, or in collision cases where one involved party was critically wounded and remains unavailable to police, or if that individual died.
If your car crash included a criminal offense, ARS-39-127 allows you to obtain one free copy of the accident report for your crash, though you must still follow the same procedures for making your request.
Obtain a Copy of Your Accident Report for Your Tempe Car Crash in Person
To obtain a copy of the police report for your Tempe traffic accident in person, you must first completely fill out the written request form entitled, Request for Police Records, which can be downloaded on the Tempe City website. Then go to the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department, located at 120 East 5th Street in Tempe to file your request and to make payment.
The lobby of the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department is open Monday thru Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may also fill out the Request for Police Records when you arrive at the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department but it is important to note that you may to wait in line to obtain the form and then wait in line to file the form, which could increase your waiting time, and you will need to account for this when making arrangements to go in person.
The cost to obtain a copy of your police report for your collision is $5.00 for the first 20 pages and $0.25 for every page thereafter. When making your request in person at the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department you can pay the fee for your request by cash, check, or money order made payable to the City of Tempe. If you plan to use a money order, it is wise to contact the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department in advance at (480) 350-8598 to determine the number of pages in your police report as you will be required to pay for all pages. If your collision involved a criminal offense and you were the victim, you may note this on your request and then will not owe a payment as long as your request is for one copy only of your report.
Obtain a Copy of Your Accident Report for Your Tempe Car Accident by Mail
If you are interested in mailing your request for your police report, either because you live too far from the Tempe Police Department, it is inconvenient to go to the Records Section during their open hours, or you are injured and unable to go in person, you must follow most of the same procedures as for obtaining your records in person. Download and completely fill out the records request form entitled Request for Police Records from the Tempe City web site.
You must then mail your request, plus your payment for your records, to the Records Section of the Tempe Police Department at 120 East 5th Street, Tempe, AZ 85281. It may be wise to contact the Records Section at (480) 350-8598 prior to mailing your request. If you send too little money with your request and it will not cover the processing of your full report—if your report is more than 20 pages and you send only $5.00 - then your report request will be delayed. In that case, the Records Sections will notify you that there is an additional fee associated with your request, and you will be required to send that payment or take it in person before your request can be processed. When mailing a request, it is acceptable to send your payment in the form of check or money order made payable to the City of Tempe. It is not advisable to send cash with your request.
Your Responsibility After Getting a Copy of the Police Report for Your Tempe Crash
Once you’ve obtained a copy of your police report, the next step is go through it and make sure that all of the information that is supposed to be contained therein actually is, and that the information is correct. You will want to ensure that the police officer who responded to your collision not only put down information concerning what all involved parties said happened, but also their contact information. Witness statements should also be accompanied by contact information.
It is also important to ensure that the police officer put down his or her own opinion as to what happened in the collision and whether or not a ticket was issued in the crash. One call to the responding officer, also listed on the report, usually can help to fill in any gaps in the final report. But having a copy of your police report also offers you something else: the chance to see what the other involved motorist or motorists has to say about what caused the collision. Although this isn’t admissible, it can help you to find some closure for what happened to you, especially if you are family member and your loved one was injured and cannot explain the details of the accident.
What a Police Report Means to You After a Tempe Car Accident
A police report is more than just a few sheets of paper that details what happened in your collision. It is the foundation of any insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit (and is also important in wrongful death cases). It is important to get a copy of your police report as soon as it is available after your collision. If you’re ready to move on after a collision, the Tempe car accident attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. can help.
For a free consultation on your case reach out to The Husband & Wife Law Team of Mark and Alexis Breyer now. If you would like us to help you get a copy of your police report, we are here to help. Also remember that police reports are not always correct and even if you are cited, Arizona is a pure comparative fault state, which means we may still be able to help you collect for the percentage you are not at fault for the accident. For more of an understanding on pure comparative fault law or how police reports can be read, give us as a call at (480) 753-4534 and speak with a Tempe personal injury lawyer.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer