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How Long Do You Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

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Did you know that almost all car accidents must be reported to the police in Missouri? If your accident caused property damage of more than $500 or resulted in an injury or death, it must be reported to the police; and since car repairs are expensive today, this regulation covers the vast majority of accidents. In addition, any accident that involves an uninsured driver must also be reported. So, how long do you have to file a police report after a car accident? Scroll down to learn about the requirements for reporting automobile accidents to the police in Missouri.

How Long Do You Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

In Missouri, drivers must report accidents within 30 days under MoRS § 303.040. The state gives this additional time in case a driver is unable to file a report immediately after an accident. However, if you wait to file your report, you might have to submit a certification from your doctor that you were not physically able to report the accident previously. So, if you’re asking, “How long do you have to file a police report after a car accident?” The answer is as soon as possible. Preferably, you should call the police from the scene of the accident.

What if the police did not respond to the accident scene?

If no one called the police from the accident scene, you should report your accident by going to the local police station. This is imperative if property damage or injuries occurred.

As we already mentioned, in cases in which an accident involved an uninsured driver, you must report the accident. If the uninsured driver is found to be at fault, he or she can be found liable for driving without insurance as well as for his or her negligence.

You should never avoid reporting a car accident because of concerns that your insurance premiums might increase. This can cause other problems for you in the future.

What if the accident was minor?

While you might not be required to report a minor accident in which you think that the damage was less than $500, it is still in your best interest to file a report. Why? Damage to your vehicle that you think is minor might be more extensive than you realize. Even if you are tempted to agree to keep it between you and the other driver, the accident may result in some damage to your vehicle that is not immediately visible. This damage may end up being much more expensive than you thought.

In addition, reporting your accident ensures that it is officially documented, which is critical if you have suffered property losses and injuries. If you fail to report your accident, it can be more difficult for you to recover compensation. Furthermore, filing an accident report with the police gives you a chance to establish fault. If you were not at fault, you will also benefit from having the police officer’s report and his or her analysis of your accident.

It’s important to understand that insurance companies often look for ways to reduce the amounts that they have to pay on claims. If you fail to report your accident, your insurance company may still find out about it from the other driver. In addition, if you subsequently try to recover damages through a claim, your delay in reporting might make the process more difficult or cause problems with your insurance company. Make sure that you report an accident to your insurance company even if you are not required to report it to the police or the Department of Revenue.


The experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave have a deep understanding of the laws surrounding Missouri car accidents. We can help you understand how and when to file an accident claim. If the other driver was at fault for your accident, we can help you value your claim so that you ask for the right amount of compensation. To learn more about your rights and obligations following a car accident, contact us today at 417-322-2222 or send us a message online.

Files under: Personal Injury