Typically in Mississippi, as in other states, police officers or other law enforcement officers such as Highway Patrol officers and sheriff’s deputies are dispatched to the scene of a traffic accident when advised. Whether they attend or not depends on the seriousness of the incident. By law, all crashes involving some sort of injury require the crashes to be investigated and a report to be compiled. That police report, more formally called a Mississippi Uniform Crash Report (MUCR) could be a vital piece of evidence for you if you intend filing a personal injury claim after an injury resulting from a crash.
Bear in mind that if you are seriously injured in a crash, there may be very little or nothing you can do personally to help obtain evidence that can show who was at fault. It may seem paradoxical that the very people who will need compensation the most are the least likely to be able to exert any personal influence on proving who was at fault. It is vital for compensation to be offered that there is clear evidence of who was at fault.
The MUCR is therefore probably the most important evidence available after a serious traffic injury. Even eye witness statements may only be made available by consulting the crash report that should contain details from eye witnesses.
If there has been no injury in a car accident, there is no absolute necessity for police to attend unless the vehicles involved are badly damaged and are blocking the flow of traffic. This means that if you have a slight sideswipe or someone reverses into your car in a parking lot, that you cannot expect a police officer to turn up and write a report that you can use later when you file a claim. There is an exception to this. If someone hits your vehicle when you are either not in attendance or when you are actually physically present, and does not stop to exchange details, then this could possibly be considered a crime. Police should then be called as the offender could be caught. The fact that the person is charged with ‘leaving the scene of an accident’ makes it easier for you to file a personal injury claim as well.
What information is included in the crash report?
The following is the sort of information included in the MUCR.
- Who the owners of the vehicles are;
- Who the passengers are;
- Who was driving at the time of the crash;
- Insurance details of the owners relevant to driving;
- The location of the crash;
- The road conditions at the time of the crash;
- Eye witnesses present, including possible contact details;
- A diagram showing the probable position of the vehicles before and after the crash;
How the crash report can help your claim
An attorney can use the crash report when it is obtained to pursue further information. In particular, a good idea of what happened can be obtained from the diagrams of the two (or more) vehicles before and after the crash and eye witness contact details. The eye witnesses may be contacted by the attorney for affidavits that can shine light on who was at fault.
Other evidence that can prove crucial for a personal injury case
Note that law enforcement officers are unlikely to be physically present at the scene of the accident when it actually happened. This means that the crash report or MUCR is not necessarily the only piece of evidence that may be available. There may be security or surveillance cameras that recorded the crash event, e.g. cameras installed at intersections. Video footage may be requested by an attorney working on your case. If you are not too badly hurt and have something on you such as a cell phone that can take photos, it is wise to do this yourself, in particular the positions of the vehicles involved and the damage done.
A personal injury attorney at the Diaz Law Firm may be able to assist in pursuing a legal claim against the home in order to obtain compensation that can help you improve the future living conditions of your relative. You can contact the Diaz Law Firm in Jackson at 601-607-3456.