When you are in a Utah car accident, even before hiring a personal injury attorney, you will often want to obtain the police report documenting the Utah car accident. When you hire Utah personal injury attorney Jake Gunter, his staff immediately seeks out the police report, pictures, dash cam, and any 911 audio calls. Saving your time, frustration and inconvenience.
Here are some tips on getting your Utah personal injury police report and associated documents that help prove your personal injury case to the at-fault insurance company:
(1). Hire a Capable Utah Personal Injury Attorney. Hiring a Utah personal injury attorney will alleviate much of the pain and hassle with obtaining the necessary police documentation. The attorneys at Howard Lewis & Petersen, PC regularly obtain the police report, 911 calls, car accident photographs, witness statements, police radio logs and any necessary police video. Often, dash cam videos, in-car audio, and body camera footage should be obtained.
Utah Car Accident Injury Lawyers
(2). Utah GRAMA Request. You can contact the servicing police agency that responded to your Utah car accident and obtain their GRAMA request requirements. GRAMA is acronym for a Utah law called Government Records Access and Management Act. See the statute here at Utah Code Ann. 63G-2-101 (2017). GRAMA is the state version of FIOA. FOIA is an acronym for Freedom of Information Act and is a federal law. Most of the time, you can just write the servicing agency a letter with $10.00 copy and retrieval fee and they will at least send you the police report and witness statements.
(3). Ask the Insurance Company for a Copy. When you are in a Utah car accident there are generally two insurance companies. First, the liability insurance carrier who represents the at-fault driver who hurt you. Second, your own insurance company, commonly called the UIM carrier by insiders who regularly work in Utah car accident law. UIM is an acronym that stands for Underinsured Motorist Coverage. You can read about UIM car accident insurance coverages at Utah Code Ann. 31A-22-305.3 (2017)
As soon as a Utah car accident is reported to an insurance carrier by either the at-fault driver or you, each car insurance carrier will start the process of obtaining the appropriate police report. Your own UIM insurance carrier has a duty to act in good faith with you and therefore will provide you a copy of most documents they have in their possession. Instead of getting the Utah car accident police reports yourself, you can just wait and obtain them from your own insurance carrier. Often the at-fault, or liability carrier, will also provide you a copy of the police report, but they have no duty to do so. This is the slow way, but cheaper.
INSIDER TIPS FOR GETTING A UTAH CAR ACCIDENT POLICE REPORT FAST
(1). Show up at the Police Station. After a day or two has elapsed, you can generally call the responding servicing police agency and ask them if the report has been prepared. Then, ask where you can obtain a copy in person. The bigger the agency, the more time it will take for the responding officer to finish his report. The principle is also the same with bigger law enforcement agencies responding to GRAMA requests by mail.
Be prepared to pay $10 or more for the report and an additional fee for the audio/video and pictures. Showing up in person at the servicing agency tends to be the fastest way to get a Utah car accident report, but takes times to drive to the responding agency, which could be prohibitive if you don’t live in Moab and that is where the car accident case happened. Additionally, you are hurt and can’t drive, can’t work and certainly don’t want to spend time with tasks a Utah personal injury car accident attorney could do for you.
(2). Email or Fax Request. Don’t mail your request. Call the servicing police agency and obtain their email or fax and use that to request the Utah car accident police report. Sometimes you can get the servicing police records custodian to email it back to you. You should also pay over the phone. Way faster. The smaller the agency, the more likely you can get the report by these means.
(3). 911 Call, Pictures, Statements, Audio/Video. Our personal injury attorneys at Howard Lewis & Petersen always ask for everything, not just the police report. There can be very important information concerning your Utah car accident in the Pictures and 911 call.
(4). DI 9 State of Utah Investigating Officer Report of Traffic Crash Overlay. When you are involved in a Utah car accident, most every police agency is required to use a DI 9 form. A DI 9 is a form in addition to the witness statements, photographs and the report narrative. The DI 9 form details how the crash occurred and all parties who are involved and often whom the officer believes is at-fault. You can see if charges were filed, and normally the police officer puts the at-fault driver in the Number 1 box, rather then subsequent boxes for describing the drivers and passengers in the Utah car accident.
The DI 9 form has codes down both sides of it. These codes are interpreted with a DI 9 overlay. There are around 37 codes that describe all sorts of good stuff to help you prove your case to the insurance company. Just Google DI 9 overlay codes and one will pop right up.
As of 12/2017 this manual is called the Utah Investigators Vehicle Crash Report Instruction Manual.
(5). Multiple Responding Police Agencies. Sometimes, there can be multiple responding agencies and you will need to get all the police reports from each agency. Make sure to always ask for the audio/video on each agency. There is not a central depository and each agency keeps their own records.
POLICE REPORT RESOURCES
Utah Highway Patrol. The Utah Highway Patrol has outposts all over Utah and they do have a more centralized audio/video and police report retrieval system. The Utah Highway Patrol does have an online portal to retrieve and pay for your police reports once the servicing Patrolman uploads his report. As of 12/2017, these online Utah Highway Patrol reports do not include photographs, witness statements or audio/video—just the report.
The UHP generally covers Utah’s interstate system and rural areas. See https://highwaypatrol.utah.gov.
Salt Lake Unified Police Department. The unified police agency covers a large swath of the greater Salt Lake Valley.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. https://one.nhtsa.gov. NHTSA generally has a copy of the DI 9 Utah instruction manual and other valuable highway safety information.
CONCLUSION: Hiring Utah personal injury attorney Jake Gunter will substantially alleviate your stress and help you get better results in your car accident case.
Call (801) 373-6345 for a free consultation today.