Only in the case of a human injury traffic accident, the police make an on-the-spot investigation report (also known as "実況見分調書" in Japanese), which sometimes has a significant impact on out-of-court settlement and civil court. In this article, we take a closer look at the on-the-spot Investigation Report. The on-the-spot investigation report is a report made by the police based on their on-the-spot investigation of the accident scene. In addition to the result of their investigation, the report includes a testimony of the people involved in the accident who are called to the accident site to testify. Since it's edited by the police as a third party, it's considered as one of the most reliable and objective reports about the human injury traffic accident.
Contents of the On-the-spot Investigation Report
The On-the-spot Investigation Report includes:
- Date, time, place, and name of the observer(s)
- Situation of the road at the accident site (Whether the road surface is dry, what traffic regulations are in place, etc.)
- Situation when concerned people operated vehicle (Type of vehicle, vehicle number, location, degree and condition of damages, etc.)
- Explanation of the observer(s) (Where they he/she found the other party involved in the accident, the place where he/she applied the brakes, the location where you collided, etc.)
- The map and pictures of the traffic accident scene
If there is more than one observer (Suspect, Witness, etc.), on-the-spot investigation reports (including traffic accident site sketches and photographs) will be prepared for the same number of people. Sometimes the reports may be prepared several times for the same witness.
On-the-spot Investigation Report shows what was happening in the accident scene in detail. Therefore, it is regarded as one of the most important pieces of evidence in a criminal court. Besides, it is regarded as essential evidence also in out-of-court settlement and civil court, because it helps to confirm the percentage of negligence in the accident.
How to get On-the-spot Investigation Report
An on-the-spot investigation report is a criminal record along with a written statement of a suspect and a written statement of a witness. On-the-spot investigation is not available when the police investigation is still ongoing. It is available only after indictment or non-indictment of the perpetrator is confirmed. The general procedure for obtaining the on-the-spot Investigation report is as follows:
(1) At first, get a Certification of Traffic Accident. In the certification, you will find the information on the police station of the jurisdiction and the accident reference number. With this information, call the police station and ask the following information:
・The date when the accident case was sent to a Public Prosecutors Office
・The name and place of public prosecutors office which will handle the case
・Reference number of the case
(2) Contact the Public Prosecutor's Office, inform the date of sending the case and the reference number and apply for seeing and copying the On-the-spot Investigation Report. (It is not possible to see nor copy the documents immediately on that day, so it is necessary to go to the Public Prosecutor's Office again later. So, confirm when you can visit them and what to bring on that day with them.
(3) On the appointed day, go to the Public Prosecutor's Office and see and copy the on-the-spot investigation report. Since the fee is not regulated by law, confirm it in advance of the visit.
Occasion you need to see on-the-spot investigation Report
The point at issue in out-of-court settlements and civil court is the percentage of negligence. When the parties disagree about the percentage of negligence, confirm the on-the-spot Investigation Report. It is based on an investigation by the police and is considered the most reliable material in the court. However, in the case where the traffic accident victim was carried to a hospital by ambulance and absent when the report was made, the report is sometimes made based only on the perpetrator's opinion. So, note that the on-the-spot investigation Report is not always perfect and accurate with the fact.
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