Many people involved in a car accident may be tentative about involving the police in the matter. Whether they were at fault for the accident and are afraid of the consequences, or they believe they can resolve the matter without the police, many legal complications can arise due to a lack of police involvement.
By making a police report, the people involved in a car accident are actually protecting themselves more, especially when car accident claims are being made. Read on to find out more about why you should make a police report after a car accident, and how this report will benefit you.
What is a Police Report?
A police report is a document written by a police officer which outlines what happened, who was involved, what damage was sustained and any other important details the police officer has obtained. Depending on the nature of the car accident, a police report may range from a simple one-page document to a more detailed multiple paged document.
Once a police report is made, the person reporting will be provided with a police event number. This event number plays an important role if you need to make a car accident claim after the car accident has occurred.
What Information is Included in a Police Report?
A police report will often contain information such as:
- Where the car accident occurred
- The date and time of the car accident
- The car registration details of the cars involved
- Whether anybody sustained injuries
- Whether there was any damage to the cars involved
- Statements of witnesses or other drivers
Why Should I Make a Police Report?
- It is an official unbiased report
A police report represents an official unbiased third-party report of the car accident. This document is considered to be more reliable than the testimonies of the people involved in the car accident. When the people involved recall their memory of the event, there can be conflicting views as to what happened, and who was at fault. In this case, a police report will play the impartial role of determining an accurate summary of what truly happened.
- In case of injuries that develop after the car accident
If you develop any injuries after the car accident, a police report can help to establish that those injuries were caused by the accident itself, and not for any other reason. On the other hand, it can also prevent other people from attempting to fake a related injury, and can save you from being liable in such cases.
- In case of damages to your car after the car accident
While a car might sometimes appear undamaged upon inspection after a car accident, you may find that the car actually has some damage later on. A police report will help to establish the link between the car accident and the damage, and can prevent people from making false claims about car damage.
- It is necessary for any car accident claims
When making a car compensation claim, many insurers will require a police event number, which is given only when a police report is made. This police report will be crucial evidence for any compensations claims you make, and help your chances of success. Insurers may reject compensation claims purely on the basis that there is no police documentation for the car accident.
How Long Should I Wait Before Making a Police Report?
Police should be called immediately, or at the latest 28 days following the accident, to the scene of major traffic crashes, where:
- Where someone is killed or injured
- A party fails to stop and exchange particulars
- A driver is allegedly under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs
- There are hazards present, such as significant damage to structures
- There is aggressive or criminal behaviour between the parties
For all other car accidents, the parties involved should aim to make a police report as soon as possible. If there is a failure to make a police report within 28 days of the car accident, then insurers may reject any claims on this basis, or require a justification for this delay.
How Can I Make a Police Report?
If you have not made a police report at the scene of the car accident, then a police report can be made any time afterwards by attending a police station or via the police assistance line.
For more information about a motor vehicle personal injury claim, get in touch with Schreuder Partners today.