Filing a Police Report: FAQs
Car accidents happen in a split second, and are overwhelming experiences for all involved parties. Severe car accidents may cause victims to feel confused and alter decision making skills. In order to assess any physical injuries, seek medical attention immediately. After you see a medical professional, exchange information with the other driver and any witnesses. Exchanged information should include names, phone numbers, addresses, the car make and model, insurance information, license plate, and driver’s license information. While collecting this information, dial 911. Some are skeptical to call the police at the scene of an accident, if they feel at fault for the accident or do not want police getting involved. Regardless of skepticism, the police must be called so that they can document a proper police report. The following frequently asked questions shed light on why it is so important for a police report to be documented every time.
When should I file a police report after an accident?
The police should be contacted every time an accident occurs. Depending on the state where an accident occurs, some states legally define that a police report must be filed. Even if your state does not require a police report to be filed, it is better to be safe than sorry. After an accident, dial 911, and let the police assess the accident. Legally, you have done your part, which will benefit you if a lawsuit is filed due to the accident.
If my accident was minor, do I have to file a police report?
As a rule of thumb, a police report should always be filed. Physically, some injuries may worsen over time. Additionally, adrenaline is running high immediately after an accident, so it may be hard to perceive an injury that would feel obvious in other circumstances. If you fail to file a police report and later decide to make a claim, not obtaining a proper report will work against you.
If I file a police report, do I have to make a claim?
Even if you file a police report, this does not automatically indicate a claim will be filed. The police report serves the purpose of documenting the accident from a police perspective. Even if you or the other driver wants to dissolve the issues without police, you must still file a crash report. As previously discussed, crash reports are a legal requirement in many states. Another advantage of calling the police is assurance that the other driver will not flee the accident scene.
Why should I file my accident with the police?
Filing a police report has various benefits, and no disadvantages. Filing a police report will provide your insurance company with evidence, enabling them to properly handle your claim. Additionally, a police report provides an accurate crash report to your insurance company. In the event that legal issues arise from the accident, a police report will offer you protection.
Auto accidents are scary, complex situations overall. The first step after an accident is to call for medical attention to assess you and your injuries after the accident. The next step is to call police. While you are waiting for police to arrive, exchange contact information with all parties involved, including witnesses. Just because you file a police report, this does not mean you have to file a claim. Filing a police report has various benefits, including protecting you if legal claims are made, accurate documentation of the accident, and a source of information for insurance companies to depend on. In the event that you are involved in an auto accident, immediately call for paramedics, and dial 911 to obtain a proper police report.
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