Each year, an estimated six million vehicle collisions happen in the United States. While many accidents are minor and do not involve injuries, some result in serious injuries or fatalities. If you are involved in an accident, knowing what to do during the immediate aftermath is important. In some cases, the drivers will exchange information and agree not to call the police. This is never a good idea because it may be more difficult for you to recover damages if there is no police report for a car accident.
So, what happens if there is no police report for a car accident?
No Police Report for an Accident: What the Law Says
Under R.S.Mo. § 300.110, you are required to report an accident to the police immediately whenever any of the following occurs:
- Someone is injured.
- Someone is killed.
- Property damage of at least $500 occurs.
Since even apparently minor damage to a car will often exceed $500 in repairs, this means that you must report an accident in nearly any case. You might also be required to report an accident to your insurance company under the provisions of your insurance contract when you are at fault. When there is no police report for a car accident that was caused by another driver, you may have more trouble recovering damages for your losses.
Why You Should Always File a Police Report After an Accident
If you are in an accident and the other driver asks you not to call the police, you should not agree. Your vehicle may have more significant damage than you realize. The other person may try to blame the accident on you and recover damages by filing a report with his or her insurance company, or the other driver might be uninsured. By failing to file a police report, you lose important documentation of what happened in your accident.
While it is possible to recover compensation when there is no police report for an accident, it can be difficult to do so.
How to Prove Your Claim When There Is No Police Report
Courts treat police reports as third-party accounts. As such, they are not admissible as evidence in a trial. However, police reports often contain critical information that can help your attorney and the insurance company when they start trying to make liability determinations. If you do not have a police report, there are some other ways that you can prove liability in your car accident claim.
In many cases, people involved in collisions disagree about what happened and who was at fault. If any witnesses saw what happened, it can help to figure out the chain of events. After a collision, you should try to get the names and contact information of anyone who witnessed what happened.
Your attorney might look for video from nearby businesses, traffic cameras, and dash cameras. This type of evidence may help you show what happened in the moments leading up to your accident and its aftermath and can be important for proving your claim.
The damage to your vehicle can reveal a lot of information about what happened. You should take photographs of the damage to your car and the other vehicle. Photograph the debris, the surrounding scene, and other relevant details. This type of information can be used by accident reconstruction experts to help determine liability.
What to Do If the Other Driver Refuses to Wait at the Scene
Drivers in Missouri are required to remain at the accident scene until police arrive. If the other driver refuses to wait, take a picture of his or her license plate and the vehicle’s make and model. Call the police and let them know that the other driver left the scene of the accident, and provide the dispatcher with the other driver’s license plate number and the make, model, and color of the vehicle as well as a description of the driver. This can help the police track down the other driver.
Get Help from the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
You can still file a claim with the insurance company when there is no police report for a car accident. However, having a police report makes the process faster and easier. Plus, your insurer will otherwise be unwilling to pay the full amount of your claim.
If you have been injured in an accident because of the actions of another driver, you should talk to an attorney at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave. In many cases, we can help you gather evidence showing the liability of the other driver even if no police report was filed. Contact us today at 417-322-2222.