Debunking Popular Myths About Car Accident Police Reports
In our practice we have heard a lot of “facts” about when you do and do not need to file a police report after a car accident. Unfortunately, many of these “facts” are popular misconceptions that can have lasting negative outcomes for car accident victims. To set the record straight, we have put together a list of some of popular police accident report myths:
Myth: The accident was small, and no one was hurt so I don’t need to file a police report.
Fact: What seems like a fender bender could end up being serious damage. While you might initially feel fine following your accident, it can take days or weeks for major injuries to appear.
In either of these scenarios, without a police report, there is no proof of the incident. Getting insurance to pay for medical expenses or repairs will be an uphill battle.
Myth: The accident obviously wasn’t my fault. The other guy even took the blame! I don’t need a police report.
Fact: Accidents aren’t always as black and white as they appear. Also, just because the person is taking responsibility now doesn’t mean their story won’t change later.
A police report gives a clear picture of what happened from an unbiased third-party source. Even if it is a straightforward accident, the report is crucial if you want to file a claim with your insurance company.
Myth: The other person seems like a nice guy, there’s no reason to get the police involved.
Fact: As The Balance explains, you never know what the other person will do or say after you leave the scene of the accident. Your accident report is the only proof that states exactly what happened from a trusted third-party source.
Myth: If the police don’t show up at the accident scene, I don’t really need a police report.
Fact: If the police aren’t there, you should call them. Nobody is their best self after an accident. Don’t try to collect information while you are shaken up and frantic. Let a police officer, who is experienced in these stressful situations, provide guidance, objectivity, and an independent accident report.
Myth: I tried calling the police and they couldn’t come. The accident isn’t important enough to file a report.
Fact: There are a variety of reasons why the police won’t be able to show up to a car accident scene. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need a police report, but it does mean that you need to do a little detective work of your own.
Stay on the phone with the police and follow their instructions on how to proceed. Here are some important steps The Balance recommends you take if an officer is unavailable:
- Find available witnesses.
- Take pictures and videos of the damages and location.
- Take notes or audio recordings of the third party or witness versions of what happened.
- Get the name of the person you spoke to on the phone.
Once you have all this information, you can file your police report at the station.
After getting your accident report and addressing all injuries, call Villari Brandes & Giannone. We know how to read these complicated police reports and can help identify any potential errors. Let us use our experience to deal with the paperwork and insurance companies so you can focus on getting ready. Contact us today for your free consultation.