If you have been involved in a car accident, you are likely feeling overwhelmed and may not have any idea if your accident rises to the level of requiring a police report. Your first concern is naturally whether you or anyone else was injured and about the damage to your vehicle and the ensuing inconvenience and expense. Frankly, obtaining a police report might be the furthest thing from your mind. The fact is, however, that it is nearly always in your best interest to obtain a police report after being involved in a car accident.
Do Not Leave the Scene of the Accident
If you are in a car accident that involves another person, your first responsibility is not to leave the scene of the accident. If anyone is injured, provide the aid that you are capable of providing, move out of the path of traffic, and call the authorities. Do not assume that someone else will call the police – let dispatch know that you want to file a police report.
Accidents and Police Report Requirements
If your accident is minor – less than $1,000 in damages and no injuries – you are not required to file a police report, but it's likely in your best interest to do so nonetheless. The fact is that it is difficult to know at the outset exactly how much damage an accident has caused. If there is any body damage at all to either vehicle, it is very likely to exceed the $1,000 minimum. Further, while you may not think you were hurt in the accident, some injuries may not be readily apparent. Some of the injuries that may be slow to present with symptoms include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
If you were in a car accident, it is in your best interest to file a police report.
The Value of a Police Report
If another driver leaves your car damaged and/or you injured, you are going to be working with that driver’s insurance company to obtain the compensation to which you are entitled. The fact is, however, that the insurance company is in the business of generating revenue and, toward that end, will do what it can to minimize your settlement offer. If you have a police report that supports your version of events, the insurance company has that much more reason to compensate you fully for the damages you have sustained. In fact, it is difficult to argue with the accuracy of a police report because the officer in question has virtually no motivation to be anything but forthright and honest.