If you’ve been driving for a while and still never been in a car accident, you’re lucky.
But you also might be wondering what to do in case you’re ever in a car accident. For instance, do you need to file a car accident police report? Or is it enough to just exchange insurance information?
Well, that depends on the severity of the accident and the state laws where you live. But either way, you’ll want to remember this:
A Car Accident Police Report Is Always a Good Idea
Even if your accident is one where there are no injuries, the damage is minor and everyone involved is properly licensed and cool about everything.
Because the reality is, people can get shaken up and disoriented during an accident and a few days later, they may be remembering things differently than the day of the accident.
If there’s no police report, there’s no record of the extent of the damage to each vehicle and the surrounding landscape, as well as who appeared to be at fault.
And you could end up getting sued for that minor damage. Even if it wasn’t your fault. It’ll merely be your word against the other driver’s word.
A police report also helps to facilitate the claims process with your auto insurance company. And that means a quicker payout on your claim.
If, however, you choose not to file a police report, then you need to document everything at the scene of the crash. Take photos of your vehicle, their vehicle and of the surrounding area so that those pictures so you can use them in case you get sued.
What Goes into a Police Report?
In some states, you’ll be required to file a police report if you’re in a car accident – regardless of the severity of the accident.
But once again, we strongly recommend that even if your state doesn’t require you to do so, you get the police on the scene.
When filing your report, be sure it’s as detailed and accurate as possible. Take notes to gather information and to help you remember. You’ll want to include the following:
- Description of how the accident happened
- The number of passengers in the other car.
- Other driver’s name and insurance information.
- Names of witnesses and, if possible, their recorded accounts of the accident.
- Any damages to your vehicle.
- Injuries you or your passengers sustained.
Also, take photos of the scene of the accident, as well as your vehicle, and any injuries you sustain.
The law enforcement officer at the scene will collect your information and submit it to their department. It’s possible that the officer may issue a ticket to one or more of the drivers for violations.
Be sure to ask the officer for a card in case you need to contact him or her later. While the name will appear on the report, you want to ensure that you can read it clearly.
Typically, the report will be available for you to review within one to two days. Then you will have it if you need to file a claim or, worst case scenario, you need it for court.
Play It Safe!
If you’re ever in an accident, cover all your bases by filing a car accident police report. It’ll give you one less thing to worry about – as well as some peace of mind.
And if you do find yourself getting sued for an accident in the Tampa area, be sure to contact us to schedule a free case review.