If you sustained injuries or property damage in a car accident in Birmingham, Alabama, you may need a copy of the police report to submit an insurance claim.
If the accident wasn’t your fault, the police report will be critical to documenting your case.
Either way, you will need to obtain a copy of the Birmingham traffic accident report.
Understanding how to read it will help ensure that the report is accurate and that it contains all the relevant facts.
Understanding Alabama Crash Reports
In most cases, the police will use a specific form to file your Alabama crash report.
This form, known as the Alabama Uniform Traffic Crash Report form, makes it easier for officers to record all pertinent information in an orderly manner.
The crash report form is divided into sections as follows.
At the top of the form, the officer will identify critical information about the crash.
This information includes the number and type of vehicles involved, the number of injuries and fatalities, and the case or report number.
Location and Time
The next section allows the officer to make note of the accident location, date, and time.
This information is critical as this is the portion of the form where the officer indicates what circumstances caused the crash and which party was primarily at fault.
The officer preparing the Alabama collision report will assign each involved party a unit number.
This reference will be used throughout the balance of the report.
Information for Unit No. 1
In this section, the officer enters all identifying information for the first involved party.
This includes name, address, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
The officer will note the party’s condition after the crash and indicate whether that party appeared to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Any impairment testing results are also included in this section.
This section also contains information about the vehicle, any damage sustained, and information about any citations that were issued to the driver.
Information for Vehicle No. 2
This section uses the same categories noted above to record information for Unit No. 2, the second involved party.
Seating Position Codes
This section allows the officer to note how many people occupied each involved vehicle and indicate where in the vehicle they were seated.
It also allows the officer to make note of any other individuals involved in the accident, such as pedestrians, etc.
The next section of the form allows the reporting officer to list all victims of the crash.
Here, the officer notes the role of each victim, describes their involvement in the accident, and notes whether they were transported for medical treatment.
Narrative and Diagram
This section consists of a blank box in which the reporting officer diagrams the accident as it occurred in the officer’s opinion.
The officer should also include a written narrative to explain the diagram.
This section notes any specific roadway conditions present.
It also allows the officer to note any weather conditions and other relevant information about the accident location.
This section documents which law enforcement agency investigated the incident and notes the identifying information of the reporting officer(s).
The officer completes this portion of the report only if a qualifying commercial truck or bus was involved in the incident.
Although all information on the report should be accurate, pay careful attention to the Narrative and Diagram section of the report.
If you plan to pursue a claim for compensation or file a civil suit to recover damages, this section will play a critical role in documenting your case.
If any aspect of this section appears incorrect, contact a Birmingham car accident attorney for help.
How to Obtain a Copy of a Birmingham, AL Crash Report
The officer who takes your information and statement at the crash scene should provide you with a report number. You can contact our law firm to help you request the accident report or you can click here to request a copy of the accident report.
Although you may be able to obtain a copy using your driver’s license number, having the report number should make the process easier for you.
You can order a copy of your police report directly from the Birmingham Police Department.
If you use this method, however, you must pick up the report in person and provide your ID to verify that you were involved.
You can also order an Alabama crash report online from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) website.
Although this method costs slightly more, you will have immediate access to a PDF copy that you can download.
Or if you work with a Birmingham car accident attorney, your lawyer can typically take care of obtaining your crash report and other critical evidence to document your case.
Your attorney can also explain how to read the report and go through it with you, to verify its accuracy.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney in Birmingham
If you have any questions about obtaining Alabama crash reports or interpreting their contents, talk to an experienced car accident lawyer at the Fob James Law Firm.
We provide a free consultation for Birmingham personal injury victims.
Contact us today by calling (205) 407-6009 to schedule your case evaluation.