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How to Read Your Indiana Accident Report

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Following a car accident in Indiana, things can get very confusing very quickly. That's why it's important to have as much information as possible about what happened. The experienced car accident attorneys at Vaughan & Vaughan know this. That's why we place so much value on the official police accident report for your accident.

If you are involved in a car crash, you should call the police. They will conduct an initial investigation and fill out an Indiana Officer's Standard Crash Report. This report will provide a lot of valuable information about your accident. It is an important document when pursuing a claim. Accident victims are often owed compensation for things like incident-related medical bills, lost wages, and long- or short-term disabilities, among other things.

This report is an official document that explains who was involved, as well as when and where the accident happened. It will include contact information for the drivers, passengers, and witnesses. It will also note whether there were any injuries and what they were. Based on the officer’s investigation there will also be a description about the type of accident – rear-end, head-on, rollover, etc. – as well as a narrative of how it happened.

How to get your Indiana crash report

The Indiana Officer’s Standard Crash Report is always completed for accidents that result in bodily injury, death, or at least $1,000 in property damage. The reports are maintained by the Indiana State Police. For the most part, you have to have a vested interest in the incident to obtain a copy of the crash. Reports are often available within 7-10 days after the accident.

Like many states, for a fee, Indiana provides online access to crash reports through BuyCrash.com.

In many communities, for around $12, you can get a crash report from the local police department where the accident occurred. This often requires physically going to local police headquarters and filing a request during typical business hours.

You can also skip the hassle by talking to Vaughan & Vaughan. If you hire our firm to represent you, we’ll handle the request for the accident report on your behalf as part of our investigation of your case.

Reading your crash report

The Indiana police accident report consists of three pages. Each page is dedicated to an aspect of the crash – cause, involved parties, narrative – and divided into subsections.

Indiana Accident Report instructions page 1

Page 1

Section 1 – The crash report starts with the most basic information: date, location, time, and whether people were injured or killed in the accident.

Section 2 – This section is a simple checklist where the officer determines the primary and contributing causes of the crash. The “primary factor” is the single largest contributor to the collision, in the officer’s judgment. There are three types of factors:

  • Driver – Anything the operator of the vehicle did to contribute to the crash.
  • Environmental – Weather, puddles, darkness, road debris, and other outside factors.
  • Vehicle – Vehicle malfunctions like brake failure or a locked-up steering wheel.

Section 3 – Next to the checklist on the right side of the page is information about the area: light, weather, road conditions, etc.

Section 4 – If there was non-vehicle property damage (e.g. a damaged guardrail), it will be noted here. The officer will also typically make a damage cost estimate. This information is noted underneath the cause checklist.

Sections 5 and 6 – Information that identifies witnesses is on the left and involved non-motorists, like pedestrians and cyclists, are on the right.

Indiana Accident Report instructions page 2

Page 2

This page features the responding officer’s narrative.

Section 1 - At the top of the page is identifying information for the responding officer including agency and ID number.

Section 2 - This space is for the officer’s retelling of the accident. Fault and damage estimates may be noted here.

Indiana Accident Report instructions page 3

Page 3

This page contains information about the people involved in the crash, both drivers and occupants.

Sections 1 and 2 - The top portion of the third page is divided into two sections.
On the left is information about the drivers: names, dates of birth, physical status, and driver’s restrictions, if any. If a drug or alcohol test was administered, that will be noted here, too. The right side is for information about injuries as well as safety equipment .

Sections 3 and 4 - The rest of the left side of the page is for vehicle information. Here is where you will find details like vehicle make, model, year, and number of occupants. At the bottom (section 4), if a commercial truck like a semi-truck or tractor-trailer was involved, it will be noted here.

Section 5 - On the right is a diagram that shows impact location on a vehicle(s).

Click here to download a printable version.

Help for injured Indiana car accident victims

If you are seeking compensation for your injuries, it will be important that your Indiana Crash Report is accurate. The report may help establish negligence that led to the accident, such as drunk driving, drowsy driving, or distracted driving.

The best way to understand the report and how it may affect your case is to review it with an experienced attorney. Our firm has a long history of helping the injured. We will thoroughly review your accident report and other evidence to build a strong case that the insurance companies can't ignore. We will determine the damage you have suffered and help you recover compensation. Our attorneys have a long record of results through negotiated settlements and jury verdicts.

Learn more about how we can help you after you've been in an accident. Contact us today. Call 765-347-9578 for a free consultation with a car accident attorney.

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Lafayette, IN 47901

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Indianapolis, IN 46240

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Carmel, IN 46032

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Muncie, IN 47305

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Kokomo, IN 46901

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