Even After Minor Crashes
Sometimes, getting in a car crash feels more like an inconvenience than a traumatic event. Nevertheless, even minor car accidents can have a huge impact on your body – and your checkbook. While it may be tempting to drive away without calling the police or filing a claim with your insurance company, you would effectively be closing yourself off to compensation and opening yourself up to liability.
In certain states, it’s even illegal to leave the scene of a car accident without contacting the police.
Sometimes, injuries like whiplash take a few days to develop, and if you don’t document your accident with a police report, you may not be able to recover the compensation you need for treatment. Similarly, without an official report, the accident is based entirely on hearsay, and the other driver could claim that you caused the accident and hold you responsible for any alleged injuries.
An Unbiased Report
A police report is valuable because it is an unbiased third-party report of a car accident. It includes information like where and when the accident took place, whether or not there were injuries, and if either of the vehicles were damaged. Police officers may also gather statements from you, your passengers, the other driver, their passengers, and any people who witnessed the crash.
How To Get a Police Report
After a car accident, you should always call the police. If there is property damage or any injuries, the police will come to the scene. If not, they may ask you to come into the police station. When creating the report, the responding officer (or the officer you talk to at the station) will ask you and the other driver questions. Don’t discuss fault or make assumptions when talking to a police officer – simply use facts to explain what happened.
After your interview, ask the police officer for their badge number and see if you can get a copy of the report. Usually, the officer will give you instructions for how to get a copy of the report once it is filed. Sometimes, the officer will even rip off a copy of the paperwork they are filling out and hand it to you.
Keep Your Police Report On File
Even if you don’t need the police report right away, you should have a copy of it to keep on file. If you realize your side mirror was knocked loose or a scratch or bruise becomes more serious, your police report will be one of the most important pieces of evidence in your case.
Think of filing a police report as protecting yourself. You never know what another person will say and do, and physical and medical damage can always emerge later once the stress of the situation has worn off.
Even if you don’t decide to make an insurance claim right away – or at all – the facts of your accident will be more difficult to dispute if you have a police report on record. You should keep a copy of your police report in the same way you keep a receipt after a large purchase.
Make a report with your insurance company as soon as you notice any damage to your vehicle, and if you end up having a serious injury, contact an attorney as soon as it comes to light.
Daniel T. Pagliarini Attorney at Law is always available to help you with the aftermath of car accidents, big and small. When you need help with medical expenses and missed wages, look no further than our firm.
Call us at (808) 400-7248 or contact us online to discuss your rights and legal options during a free consultation.