Filing a Police Report or Accident Report
The filing of a police report post-accident is a crucial step to undertake. The report is important because it preserves and captures specific details of the accident and depicts them in a single written document. The accident report will equip your insurance agent with the information he or she needs to handle your claim in the best manner possible. The report will also protect you if there are later claims or legal issues that arise. Of course, it is important that the report be accurate, thorough, complete, and fulsome.
Information Should Be Accurate and Detailed in the Report
An accident report (or "crash report" in some jurisdictions) might be the only type and form of accurate information that is gathered from the accident scene. It very well may be one of the key tools in assessing fault for the accident and who might bear financial obligations for damages and/or injuries. Detailed and accurate accident reports that are filed with insurance companies allow for efficient and quick claims processing. The entire process goes much more smoothly if the report has those important characteristics.
Do Not Talk Yourself out of Filing an Accident Report Because an Accident Is Minor
Even in cases where there are no personal injuries or when property damage to your or other vehicle(s) seems minor, it is still critical to ensure that an accident report is filed. There may be more at stake than you realize. Some injuries take days, weeks, or years (if chronic and ongoing) to manifest. Not all damage to vehicles is visible to the untrained lay person's eye.
Be Truthful and Fulsome With Police
It is important to put aside your nerves and emotions after an accident. You might be scared, nervous, anxious, or upset. Do not babble or engage in small talk. But do not be evasive or omit important details because you are trying to protect yourself and play attorney or claims representative. Do not lie or give any intentionally incorrect information. It will likely be discovered, and you will be in much more trouble. You do not want to cause delays in the process or end up subjecting yourself to any punishment, penalty, or punitive measures. Trust that your insurance company will handle the matter.
Police Reports Are Beneficial Even if No Insurance Claims Are Made
Recognize that a police report should be filed even if drivers reach an agreement at the scene of the accident not to contact their insurance companies and to handle financial resolution of the matter on their own. Parties may do this to keep insurance premiums low or to avoid dropped coverage due to high or frequent claims. However, it is still important for a police report to be filed. The other driver may renege on his or her word later, so you need the report for your protection. It is key to have a document that adequately and thoroughly describes what happened in case there are future claims or suits.