Why File a Police Report After a Car Accident?
If you have a collision that you believe was minor, you might wonder why file a police report? The other motorist might ask you not to call the police and insist that no damage has occurred. However, there are numerous reasons why you should file a police report following an accident . . .
1. You might be legally required to file a police report.
In Missouri, most motor vehicle collisions are required to be reported to the police. Under R.S.Mo. § 303.040, all accidents that happen in Missouri must be reported when they cause property damage of $500 or more or result in an injury or death. This law means that nearly every car accident that occurs in the state is required to be reported since even minor repairs will likely cost more than $500. Similarly, this statute also requires you to report any accident that involves an uninsured driver, so you should not listen to someone who tries to convince you not to report an accident to the police.
2. You could be injured and not immediately realize it.
It is common for people to not immediately notice symptoms of injuries in the immediate aftermath of collisions. This is because you might have a rush of adrenaline caused by the accident, which can mask your symptoms. Some serious injuries, including internal bleeding, whiplash, and others, might not cause symptoms to appear for hours or even days. If you do not file a police report, it will be harder for you to convince the insurance company that your injuries were caused by the collision and not some other event.
3. A police report provides important information.
When the police respond to the scene of an accident, they conduct an investigation to determine what happened and who might be at fault. A police report will include critical information for your car accident claim, including the name and contact information of the other driver, the name and contact information of the party who owns the vehicle, the names and contact information of witnesses and what they saw, the road and weather conditions, and other details that can help your attorney as they begin investigating your claim. While a police report is generally inadmissible, it can be important in helping to provide a starting point for an investigation and potentially convincing the at-fault driver’s insurance company that it should settle your claim.
4. It will be more difficult to prove your case without a police report.
Without a police report to document when, where, and how your accident occurred, it will be difficult for you to prove that it occurred and that you were injured as a result. When you file a claim with the other motorist’s insurance company, having a police report can show that the other motorist received a ticket and was found to be at fault by the police. Without a police report, it will be difficult for you to prove that the other motorist caused your accident or that it even occurred.
Talk to the Attorneys at the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave
It is always a good idea to file a police report after an accident. Even if you think the collision was so minor that a report is not required, you might learn that more damage occurred than you believed or that you were injured. Filing a police report is a good way for you to protect your interests and your ability to pursue a claim for compensation.