You had a car accident. Nobody seemed hurt and the damage didn't appear to be too bad, so after exchanging information you and the other driver went on your separate ways.
The police refused to respond to this seemingly-minor accident because neither party appeared to be injured or to have suffered property damage.
Later that evening, your back started to hurt and by the next morning you couldn't even make it out of bed. Some days later, an important-looking piece of your car fell off when you pulled into your driveway.
When the full extent of your damages from a car accident come to light you may ask yourself, 'Can I file a car insurance claim without a police report?' The short answer is that yes, you can still file an insurance claim. However, the lack of a police report means that some additional work may be necessary to establish your claim, and you may face a slower process and a reduced insurance payout.
The following article presents information to help you address the problems created when there is no police report issued after an accident.
Addressing Evidentiary Issues
A police report is a significant piece of evidence because it includes a description of the accident produced shortly after it occurred. The document is produced by a disinterested third party (the police officer) and includes information taken from discussions with both of the parties to the accident. While a police report may not always be admissible in court during litigation, insurance companies give great deference to its contents while negotiating a claim.
When you are making a car insurance claim without a police report available, there is alternative evidence that can gather many of the benefits the report would normally provide an insurance claimant such as:
- eyewitness statements;
- statements from the drivers;
- videos, diagrams, and notes regarding the accident;
- photographs of the accident scene; and
- photographs of damage to the vehicles.
A police officer's report also records important information that you may independently gather, such as evidence establishing:
- the date, time, and location of the accident;
- the weather and road condition at the location of the accident; and
- a detailed description of the vehicles involved.
During the claims process, an adjuster may be sent to physically inspect your vehicle and/or the scene of the incident. Studying skid marks on the road, analyzing visual clues on your car, and performing a technical assessment of your vehicle may help to fill a lot of the missing gaps that may have otherwise been fulfilled by a police report. You may consult an independent mechanic or body shop to determine the condition of your vehicle irrespective of the insurance adjuster's determination.
Although you can still successfully make a car insurance claim without a police report it is likely that your claim will take longer to process. Many insurance companies will want to scrutinize a claim that lacks the trustworthy information provided in a police report, which can result in delays. Car insurance claims without a police report may also result in reduced settlement offers, since the insurer will know that no police report or police officer's testimony will be available to you at a trial.
However, as previously outlined, the careful collection and presentation of information relating to your accident can reduce or remove many of the issues that arise when a car insurance claim is made without a police report. Furthermore, the involvement of an attorney can help to ensure that the evidence you have gathered is thoroughly presented to the insurance company.
Get a Free Case Review
Car accidents may involve a whole mess of lawyers representing various parties or insurance companies. Hiring an attorney means that there is a legal professional involved whose primary concern is ensuring that you are adequately compensated for your damages. Schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your claim and learn how they can help.