Roderick C. Lopez | August 25, 2023 | Car Accidents
The immediate aftermath of a motor vehicle accident can be unsettling and intense. The event’s gravity can range from minor fender-benders to severe crashes resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities. After an accident, you might be wondering, “Do I need a police report to file a claim?”
In most cases, you can initiate an insurance claim (or a lawsuit) without a police report. However, it’s typically wise to involve law enforcement following any sort of accident – even for smaller incidents where it isn’t necessarily obligatory. A police report is almost always to your benefit as the victim of a car accident.
You Must Report Some Accidents in Texas
Under Texas law, any collision involving injury, death, or severe vehicular damage must be reported. If you find yourself in such a scenario, it is your obligation to promptly reach out by the fastest means of communication—generally by calling 911—and wait for law enforcement to arrive.
Law enforcement officers who arrive at the crash scene will typically prepare and file a comprehensive report detailing all facts concerning the incident. This document can serve as a valuable piece of evidence (at least during settlement negotiations; these reports are generally considered inadmissible hearsay in a court of law) should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim later on.
The Importance of the Police Report for the Injured Party
A police report holds immense value for all parties involved in an accident, but particularly so for those who have sustained injuries. Here’s why:
- First, it presents an independent party’s perspective of the incident. This impartiality can be instrumental when dealing with contradicting accounts between involved parties who are disputing your claims.
- A police report also details crucial information, such as weather conditions at the time and statements from witnesses that you may have difficulty locating otherwise.
- Any citations issued by law enforcement officers are included in this document which can serve as proof of assigning fault, giving you a better chance at recovering the compensation you deserve.
It’s also the law that you file a police report in many accident cases, so you’re always better off calling 911 and waiting for them to arrive than realizing after the fact that you failed to report an accident when you should have.
Information You Need To File Your Insurance Claim Without a Police Report
It’s helpful to know what to do after an accident now that you know the answer to the question, “Can you file an insurance claim without a police report?”
The following details regarding the accident are critical when filing a car insurance claim without a police report.
Date and Time of Incident
First, ensure you clearly record the date and time of the accident. This is valuable information that helps to frame exactly when the incident took place, as well as identify any possible witnesses.
Where the Accident Occurred
Always make a note of where exactly the accident happened. Knowing where an accident occurred can help you and/or your lawyer show what the road was like and how that could have contributed to the accident.
Additionally, your personal injury lawyer may be able to find video footage based on this information which can help solidify your claim.
Witness and Vehicle Information
Gather all available contact and insurance information from those involved in the accident, including drivers and witnesses.
This should include names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and any insurance and registration information. Also, take note of the vehicle make, model, and license plate number.
Information About Damages
Make sure you obtain an accurate record of the damage from this collision. Take photos and videos of damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved.
In addition, you should document the scene and where exactly the vehicles are located so the insurance company and/or the courts can get a better idea of the location and how the accident occurred.
All of this information can help you and your attorney demonstrate your losses and economic damages, like property loss.
Weather and Road Conditions
Write down any information about the weather and the state of the road conditions as well. Also, consider any environmental factors which could have influenced the accident, like whether it was dark or light out.
Always Seek Medical Attention
Your health should be the topmost priority after any accident. Even if you don’t immediately see or feel significant injuries, it’s recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In some situations, injuries sustained from car accidents may not become apparent until days or even weeks after the incident. In such cases, having sought immediate medical attention can not only help you identify any injuries but will also show the insurance company and court that you are taking your health seriously.
Contact an Experienced Laredo Car Accident Lawyer
If you need help with an accident claim, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a Laredo, TX, car accident lawyer. We can advise you on your best legal course of action, whether or not you have a police report to refer to for your crash.