What Should I Do If Police Refuse to Write a Report Of My Auto Accident?
The police are required to write a written report following an injury accident. If the police fail to do so, it is important that you take care to protect your legal rights following a crash. The police report serves an important role in building a successful personal injury claim, but it is possible to prepare a winning claim without one.
Pursuing an injury claim without the guidance of seasoned legal counsel is never a good idea. The prospect of pursuing an injury claim on your own is even more complicated in cases where there is no police report. The Los Angeles car accident attorneys of Ellis Injury Law can help you build a winning claim with or without a police report. These following steps will ensure you help your attorney obtain the evidence needed to prevail in your case.
What information is included in a police report?
The standard form the police use following a car accident includes an array of useful information. While much of this information can be collected by parties other than the police, the moments after the crash are the best time to collect this information. These reports include:
- The names and addresses of each driver
- Any traffic violations
- The type of vehicles involved
- The insurance information for each driver
- A sketch of the accident scene
- A narrative describing how the accident occurred
- A statement from each driver
- Statements and contact information from any witnesses
- Road and weather conditions
Why police officers do not always file a report
In most states, the police do not have an obligation to file a report after every accident. Many collisions result in little more than minor property damage. In these cases, the drivers often show no signs of physical injuries. In cases with limited property damage and no physical injuries, it is up to the discretion of the responding officer whether or not to file a report.
Unfortunately, these officers do not always carefully investigate the true impact of a collision. Many officers are in a hurry to get to another crash site or finish their patrol and have no interest in additional paperwork. It is not unusual for the police to shirk their duty to file a report even when one is required.
This is complicated by the fact that many injuries do not appear immediately after a crash. For some people, the symptoms of their physical injuries may not be obvious for hours or even days after a collision. This can result in an officer refusing to make a report, even though the injuries are there beneath the surface.
If the police refuse to make a report after your accident, you are not out of luck. Experienced car accident lawyers can work to recover the information that should have been included in a crash report.
Steps to take when the police do not file a report
The following steps can help preserve your rights after a crash and ensure you maintain the ability to pursue a personal injury claim:
- Report the accident to 911. Even if the police do not make a report, this will create a record of the accident.
- Exchange insurance information. You shouldn’t discuss the details of the crash with the other driver, but you should record their insurance and contact information.
- Investigate the scene. The police report is a compilation of evidence from the accident scene. Your best bet is to record this information yourself. This includes noting witnesses, taking pictures, and writing down a narrative of what happened.
- Note the agency that responded. If the police refuse to take a report, note the law enforcement agency and the name of the officer, if possible.
- Contact an attorney. Your attorney will play a vital part in pursuing your injury claim despite the lack of a police report.
How Ellis Injury Law can help
At Ellis Injury Law, we do not require a police report to successfully pursue an injury claim. We have extensive experience with investigating a car accident and can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. To get started, schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney from Ellis Injury Law right away.