Drivers aren’t always required to file a police report after an accident, but in some types of car accidents, it is against the law to not report an accident. If someone is injured or if there is significant bodily damage done to your vehicle, you must file a police report to preserve details from the accident. For more information on when you should file a police report for your accident, consult your personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
When Should Police Be Involved with a Car Accident?
While it isn’t mandatory for a police report to be filed after a car accident, in some situations it can be against the law to not report an accident. If someone is injured in a car accident, a police report should be filed to preserve evidence from the scene and record the person’s injuries. If an injured person leaves the scene of the accident without a police report documenting the injuries, they risk their auto insurance company denying their claim. If their auto insurance denies their claim, they’ll have to rely on their medical insurance to hopefully cover their damages. On the flip side, it is essential to make sure that the other driver in the accident isn’t injured or that anyone else in their vehicle isn’t injured. If the other driver or someone else in their car is injured in the accident, a police report isn’t filed, and you drive away from the scene, you risk potentially being sued or held liable for the accident even if this wasn’t the case.
If the driver flees the scene of the accident, the other driver is legally required to file a police report. Involving the police in a hit-and-run accident allows information and evidence to be protected from the scene and makes the processing time for your claim quicker with your insurance company. Insurance companies prefer to have a police report for all insurance claims, but especially for hit-and-runs. Failure to file a police report after a hit-and-run accident leaves room for insurance agents to question your claim or potentially deny it.
Do I Need a Police Report to File an Insurance Claim if Someone Hits My Car?
If someone hits your vehicle in a car accident it is a good idea to file a police report. While it is not legally required for a police report to be filed for a car accident, a police report preserves substantial evidence from a crash including:
- When, where, and how the police believe the accident occurred. A police report is more powerful than simply stating your account of the accident to your insurance company and hoping that they believe it. A police report offers solid evidence that includes facts about the accident
- Who was involved in the accident, including the number of passengers, if any, in the vehicles
- If you are injured in a car accident, filing a police report provides details about your injuries and serves as evidence that your injuries occurred in the accident
- Details of any bodily damage done to vehicles in the accident
- Statements from parties involved in their interpretation of what happened in the accident
A police report is not required by the insurance company when filing an insurance claim. If you choose to file a police report though, it can add more support to your claim and provide additional details on what happened in the car accident. It is best to file a police report right after a car accident happens and gather evidence, but if injuries prevent you from doing so yourself, your car accident lawyer can help you file a report later on. To make sure that your police report is as accurate as possible it is essential to gather as much evidence as you can from the scene after the accident happens. If injuries prevent you from doing so yourself, you can send a loved one to do so on your behalf. Keep in mind that every state has its own statute on how long residents have to file a police report after their accident. On average, the Statute of Limitations in the U.S. ranges from 1-7 years. If you are unsure about how much time you have in your state to file a report after your accident happens, consult your lawyer. Your experienced lawyer will know your state’s traffic laws and provide you with information on the options for your case.
Benefits of Having a Police Report When Filing an Insurance Claim
Filing a police report can be beneficial in many different ways to those that are involved in a car accident. Insurance claims can take some time to be reviewed by insurance agents, but a claim that is backed by a police report will have a quicker processing time. Police reports provide unbiased evidence of what happened in the accident and leave very little room for an insurance agent to question the validity of a claim. If the other party’s insurance company fails to offer a settlement amount that you are satisfied with, a police report is a substantial piece of evidence that can be used in court by your personal injury lawyer to fight for your case. Without a police report, your claim won’t be able to hold up in court. Your lawyer will need a copy of your police report for your claim to be eligible to go to trial. Without one, your options are limited for fighting against the other party’s insurance company's past negotiation from your lawyer.
Discuss Your Case with a Personal Injury Lawyer
It can be overwhelming to navigate the insurance claims process without legal guidance. The best thing that you can do after a car accident is to gather evidence, file a police report, and consult a car accident lawyer about what happened in the accident. Your lawyer is experienced in your state’s personal injury laws and will help you write a persuasive demand letter that states your damages from an accident and includes supportive evidence that backs up your claim. Your demand letter will accompany your insurance claim that is filed with the other party’s insurance company.
This is a crucial step that requires in-depth knowledge of your state’s legal system. The more powerful your claim is, the more money you can potentially recover from the accident. If you or someone you love has been involved in a car accident and you need help with filing a police report or an insurance claim without a police report, contact the Dixon Injury Firm. Our lawyers specialize in all types of injury claims and can help you recover the most in compensation for your car accident insurance claim.