How to Report a Car Accident
After an accident, move your vehicle to a safe place, away from the flow of traffic. If anyone is hurt, call 9-1-1 immediately; otherwise, call the police and wait for them to arrive. Once law enforcement is on the scene, you can file a report with the responding officer.
- What to Do If You’re In a Car Accident
Make sure no one is hurt
Move your vehicle from the flow of traffic
Get insurance and contact info from the other driver
Once law enforcement arrives, file a report with the officer on-scene
Police may not respond to an accident if no property damage or injuries occurred. If this happens, you can still file a report at the police station.
Filing a Police Report Is Important
Depending on the severity of your accident, you might not see the point in filing a report with law enforcement. Not filing a police report is a disservice to yourself, and here’s why:
You may need the report to substantiate an injury claim in the future.
Even if you don’t feel injured, you may notice an injury several days (or weeks) later. This is common after car accidents.
It is impossible to quantify damages to your vehicle at the scene of the accident, but you can substantiate a claim with a police report if you discover damage later.
By filing a police report, you can avoid false accusations from witnesses or other drivers.
You can avoid complications, such as a cooperative driver who becomes uncooperative at a later point.
Filing a police report doesn’t guarantee a successful personal injury claim, though. It simply helps you officially document what happened. If you decide to take legal action, a police report may prove itself even more valuable.
Information You Need for a Car Accident Police Report
Sometimes, filing a police report isn’t enough; you have to file a good police report. They key is to be as detailed, accurate, and specific as possible. Before you file your report, take photos and notes so you don’t forget any important information.
- What to include in your police report:
- An accurate, detailed description of the events leading up to the accident
- How many people were in your car / how many people were in the other car
- Your personal information and insurance information
- Name and information of the other driver
- Apparent damages sustained by your vehicle
- A detailed description of your injuries and other’s injuries
How to Geta Copy of Your Police Report
At the scene of the accident, a responding officer will collect information about the incident and file it with his / her department. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the officer may issue tickets or citations to one or more drivers at the scene as well. Typically, you can get a copy of the police report one or two days after your accident by contacting the police department.