Anytime that you are involved in a car accident, or any other serious accident type that necessitates emergency medical care, you should make sure that an accident report is filed with the police (in fact, in the event of a car accident, California law requires that you report the accident if anyone is injured or killed, or damages total more than $750).
If you do not report your accident to the police, and therefore there is no report or record of your accident, your injury claim can become more complicated. Consider the following about what you need to know when there is no police report for your accident–
The Benefits of a Police Report
Filing a police report isn’t just a legal requirement; it is important for recovering your full compensation amount when you file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company, too. When you file a claim with the insurance company, the police report is used to:
- Validate your accident and provide proof of its occurrence;
- Make a determination, or at least provide evidence regarding, fault; and
- Provide information about property damages and injuries sustained by either party.
Can I File a Car Insurance Claim Without a Police Report?
If there’s no police report your case becomes a little more complex than it otherwise would – the insurance company may question the credibility of your claim or your injuries or may have a harder time determining fault.
Keeping that in mind, we handle lots of cases where there’s no police report. I would say that in 10-15 percent of our cases there’s no police report. Sometimes the reason is the accident happened on private property; sometimes the reason is the police officer didn’t realize there was a serious injury.
Car Accidents Without Police Report
If there is no police report, proving that the accident occurred, that the other party was at fault, and that you suffered property damage or/and injuries by collecting evidence from other sources becomes even more important. At the offices of GJEL Accident Attorneys, we have the resources necessary to open an investigation into your case that gathers the necessary evidence. We may talk to witnesses, collect video or photograph evidence, track down the other party, and work with accident reconstruction experts to build your claim, even if a police report does not exist.
And, a corollary to that question is: what if I didn’t have an opportunity to give my statement because I was unconscious or I’d already been taken away in the ambulance at the time the police came? We deal with these issues very frequently. If there is no police report or you were unable to give your statement then as mentioned above what we do is we have our own investigator recreate what the police would have done. The investigator goes to the scene, takes photos, inspects your car –assuming it’s a car accident– inspects the other car, contacts all the witnesses…and as a general rule, we pretty much get what we want.
What Happens Next?
Once we have collected all of the evidence that is critical to your claim, especially when there is no police report or if you did not have a chance to give a recorded statement due to the extent of your injuries, we can file your claim with the insurance company. We want to wait until you have reached maximum medical improvement to demand a settlement, though, as how much your case is worth will be unclear until you have healed as much as is possible. Once we issue a demand, we will negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. If reaching a settlement is impossible, we may need to file a lawsuit.
Keep in mind that if you were legally obligated to report your accident to the police and did not, you may face a penalty for this. However, this is unrelated from your personal injury claim, and will likely not affect your ability to recover your full settlement amount.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
To schedule a free consultation with the offices of GJEL Accident Attorneys, contact us online today. We know that if you do not have a police accident report, you may be intimidated by the prospect of seeking damages. However, we urge you to contact us whether or not you have a police report, as our law firm can handle all aspects of an investigation on your behalf.