What Happens If There Is No Police Report for a Car Accident?
Car accidents are often messy affairs. They can often cause confusion, and people may need to be rushed to a hospital for their injuries, or may need to see a doctor.
In the wake of this disaster, people can forget to file police reports. On the other hand, if accidents are minor fender benders, drivers may be wondering if they are obligated to report an accident at all.
Those who have recently been the victims of a car accident and need help navigating the law can contact The Keating Firm LTD for sound legal advice and begin the claims process if the accident occurred due to negligent driving.
Is It Legal Not to Contact a Police Officer After A Car Accident?
If there are no complicating factors, the most typical way to proceed for most drivers involved in an auto collision is to submit no police report.
While filing a police report makes it easier to demonstrate who the driver at fault is, it isn't essential to verify who is responsible for the damages.
In essence, a police report is just another source of evidence that insurance companies can use to prove fault.
Even though the investigating officer is unlikely to have witnessed the collision, their police report can still be trusted because it details any hard evidence found at the accident scene.
The Laws Differ According to State
The truth is that most states in the United States require drivers to report a vehicle collision as soon as possible. Whether or not they need to have a police report filed is entirely dependent on the state the accident occurred in.
In Texas, for example, if the collision leads to a fatality, serious injuries, property damage costing $1,000 or more, or damage to local government property, it is essential to file an accident report. Failure to do so can result in harsh consequences, including a fine of up to $5,000 or jail time.
Suppose there is a car accident in Tennessee. In that case, the Tennessee car accident state laws do not require the accident to be reported unless the car accident in Tennessee has caused death, serious injury, or damages over $400.
Drivers are encouraged to contact The Keating Firm LTD, one of the top auto accident law firms in Nashville, if they are unsure about the laws in play in their state, and we can tell victims whether they are obligated to call the police to the scene of an accident or not.
A Driver's Insurance Company May Compel Them to File a Police Report
Many insurance policies compel drivers to make a police report within 24 hours of a collision.
While it may not be a legal requirement in a state to file a police report, fleeing an accident scene without filing a police or accident report may result in a low insurance payout.
This is because, without the evidence provided by a police report, the accident can be a case of "he said, she said," and no insurance company can make payment until it has enough evidence to prove that that the terms of the insurance policy have not been violated.
Can a Driver Be Sued If There Are No Police Reports?
Drivers at fault for a car accident may be depending on the lack of a police report to save them from a potential lawsuit. Unfortunately, no police report does not mean that a person cannot be sued for negligent driving.
Negligence In Car Accident Cases
Negligence is the term used in all personal injury, and car collision claims when an individual's behavior falls below an appropriate level of care. Simply defined, if a motorist's conduct is inconsistent with what a rational person does in a comparable situation, the motorist is deemed negligent.
To determine who was at fault in an auto accident, it must first be established that they had an obligation to act in a particular way.
This is relatively simple because all drivers are responsible to each other to provide a certain duty of care when driving on the road. Negligence can still be proved in the absence of a police report, which is just one piece of evidence.
Demonstrating That a Driver Was Negligent
The driver must additionally demonstrate that the other driver was at fault. A motorist's duty of care to the other driver can be breached in a number of ways.
Some of these include failing to observe the rules of the road and not watching out for potential hazards, failing to come to a safe stop in a reasonable amount of time, or driving at a hazardous pace.
Motorists must also show that the other driver caused the car accident and that they sustained substantial damages as a result of the collision.
How to Deal With a Car Accident that Has No Police Report or Accident Report
As previously indicated, most drivers involved in a vehicle collision do not need the help of a police report. This is why understanding how to deal with a car accident is crucial to decreasing the expenses and stress that follows.
Here are some of the steps drivers can take in dealing with car accidents that do not have a police report.
Record as Much Contact Information As Possible
It is easy to become disorientated after an accident. Confusion and mayhem can ensue, and knowing what needs to be done following an accident can make a world of difference.
The first step is recording as much information as possible. This includes taking notes on the model and make of the other car, the driver's contact information, the plate number of the other vehicle, the driver's license number, and the location at which the incident occurred. These can help victims contact the other driver later on.
Take Pictures and Videos
Drivers are advised to use their smartphones to take as many pictures at the accident scene as possible. When taking these pictures, it may be helpful to include the license plate numbers as well. Videos can also be beneficial in this situation, especially if the other driver is being unreasonable.
Get Medical Attention
Typically, law enforcement is called to the scene after a car accident, and they notify emergency medical services on the victim's behalf.
However, when drivers choose not to involve law enforcement, the onus is on them to seek medical attention after the motor vehicle accident occurs.
Drivers are encouraged to seek medical care whether the accident was a minor accident or a serious one, as complications can arise later on, and there can be internal damages that drivers may not notice.
Some Injuries May Not Be Evident at First
Some injuries, such as soft tissue injuries, may not show symptoms until a few days later, so it is essential to see a medical professional and treat any possible injuries after a car accident occurs.
Victims must ensure that they retain detailed records whenever they seek medical help. They must maintain detailed descriptions of the dates and times they visited the healthcare facility and keep track of any medical treatment they receive, such as medications, testing, or physiotherapy.
Drivers must also be sure to retain all their medical bills as proof of the treatment they received, as this must be provided as evidence when seeking compensation for any losses.
Contact the Insurance Company
Drivers must always inform their insurance company of an accident within 24 hours after it happens. Reporting an accident and making a car accident claim are two very different things.
Reporting is the first step and entails informing insurance companies of the accident's occurrence, where it happened when it happened, and why it happened.
When a driver makes an insurance claim, this entails giving the insurer notice that they need to use their insurance coverage benefits to cover their auto repairs, property damage, and medical expenses related to the auto accident.
After that, the insurance provider verifies their insurance information and assesses the property damage before deciding on the amount paid out for the insurance claim without a crash report.
Obtain Legal Representation
A police report is not the deciding factor in a car accident claim, and experienced attorneys can gather enough evidence to file a personal injury claim without the need for a recorded statement from a police officer, which is essentially all a police report is.
Other physical evidence, such as pictures of the car wreck, witness statements, photographs, video evidence, and evidence of injury, can all prove that the other party was negligent and hold them accountable for their involvement.
The harsh truth is that without a crash report, obtaining sufficient money from insurance claims to cover medical bills and even minor property damage can be difficult. In the absence of a police report, insurance companies may be tempted to act in bad faith.
After all, insurance companies are still businesses that must make a profit, and those who file a claim without an experienced attorney on their side ensure that the driver's legal rights are still being upheld.
Need an Experienced Attorney? Contact The Keating Firm LTD Today!
Victims of a car wreck who choose not to file a police report may still file a personal injury claim against any guilty parties involved to obtain compensation for their damages.
At The Keating Firm, our personal injury attorneys are experienced in dealing with car accident cases. Contact us today for a free case evaluation!