How Do I Get All the Police Reports and Evidence After a Car Accident?

So if you’ve been in a car crash, you may be wondering, how do I get a copy of the police report? Well, depending on where your crash happened, there may be a couple of different ways for you to get the report. So first of all, if the crash happened in the city of Milwaukee or the city of Waukesha, you can try to get a hold of the police officer or the police department and see if you can get it directly from that department. So the city of Milwaukee has its own way of requesting action reports; one of the easiest ways to get it from them is just to email them. And we’ll leave a link below where you can do a records request for that.

Now, another place you can try to get your crash report is from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, they have a copy of all the accident reports that are reported. And those are, again, online, and you can go and order, pay and  download that. Then there are also private services who will actually go and request the records for you. You know, for most people who are in a car accident, probably the easiest way is just to reach out to the police department and follow up and see if you can get the report that way. For law firms or lawyers, probably the easiest way is to go onto the Department of Transportation’s website or to hire a private service like Lexus. If you hire a private service, like Lexus, you can put in the information, and then they’ll notify you when that report is ready.

You can just go onto their website, pay, and download the report. Now, one thing that’s not really done a lot by most lawyers is that in addition to the accident report — the accident report is great to get — there’s a lot of other information that is out there that might be helpful that most lawyers won’t even bother to try to get. So when a client comes to us, the first thing we do is request the accident report. But there’s a separate request that we can do, called an open records request. And we’re going to ask for things such as 911 calls, the CAD report, which is a report of all the calls coming in, and the dispatch from the 911 operator. We’ll ask for photos.

And importantly, in a lot of cases now, dash cam video or body cam video. Now, it’s important that you request those right away because a lot of times, a lawyer will wait, and a year or two goes by, and you’ll get a response back from the police that says, “Yeah, we had video, we had dashcam, we had body cam, but it’s been erased over,” so it’s really important that you make those requests right away, and that you asked the police to preserve those.

Now, in some cases, there may be a criminal case that’s pending, and maybe the other driver was drunk or on drugs, or there was a hit and run. In those cases, a lot of times, the police will write back and say, “Yes, we have these records, but because of a pending criminal investigation, we’re not going to release those to you.” So you have to monitor the criminal case to figure out, okay, when that comes to an end, are they now going to release that information? It’s really important that you know all of the resources available other than a crash report. So if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call or go on our website you can get more information and either message us or text us, and we’d be happy to talk to you.

Author Bio

Robert J. Welcenbach Robert Welcenbach is an Owner and Partner at Welcenbach Injury Law, a family-owned personal injury law firm in Milwaukee, WI. With more than 24 years of experience practicing law, he seeks justice for clients in a wide range of legal areas, including car accidents, class actions, dog bites, nursing home abuse, and other personal injury matters.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from the Marquette University Law School and is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being nominated and selected as a Milwaukee Personal Injury and Class Action Super Lawyer every year since 2008.

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