Do I Need to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident that led to an injury, you’ll definitely have to notify the police. As you’ll learn later, the state of Minnesota levies substantial penalties for failing to do so. But even if the wreck didn’t result in anyone being hurt, you’ll want to at least consider calling the police. The reason is that a police report could go a long way toward helping you get the compensation you deserve for the damage done to your vehicle.
You’ll also want to get in touch with a car accident attorney with McEwen & Kestner. We’ll get to the bottom of why the accident happened, and work to help you obtain compensation from any negligent parties that are to blame. If you’ve been injured, we’ll know exactly how much money to demand on your behalf.
The following is some information on why you should file a police report. If you would like to learn more about how we may be able to help, please contact us online or give us a call at 651-224-3833 for a free consultation.
Why is Filing a Police Report for Your Accident Important?
It’s important to get something out of the way first. You won’t actually “file” the report yourself. That will be the officer’s job. As of July 1, 2021, people involved in an accident no longer have to provide a crash report to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
If you’ve suffered a severe injury in a car wreck caused by someone else, you’re going to need as much evidence as possible to prove that you deserve every penny you’re seeking. The police report could be a crucial piece of that evidence.
The police report will provide an unbiased, third-party perspective on why an accident occurred. It will be much more powerful than either your account of the story, or the at-fault driver’s account. Your insurance company, as well as the at-fault driver’s carrier, will want to see the report. Your attorney will also need a copy to provide you with the most effective representation possible.
When a car accident happens, that will usually cause a rush of adrenaline. As a result, you might think you’re fine, when you’re actually seriously injured. It will only be after the wreck that you realize something’s very wrong. The police report will help provide proof of why you were hurt – that could play a huge role in helping you obtain compensation for your medical bills and other expenses arising from the collision.
What Information is Provided on a Police Report?
Remember, the police officer who fills out the report will be unbiased, providing an objective – yet very well educated – opinion on what caused the accident. If, for example, you were hit from behind, the officer’s report could very well state that the at-fault driver was speeding or distracted, and couldn’t react quickly enough to avoid the collision. Or, the report could state that one of the driver’s brakes failed, leading to the wreck.
This is just some of the information that will typically appear on that report.
- The date, time and location of the accident.
- Any property damage that took place.
- Information regarding any injuries that were suffered.
- Statements of both drivers giving their account of what happened.
- Other information, such as the weather and road conditions at the time of the collision.
- Any other pertinent facts.
Again, the police report will always be seen as being more accurate than the opinion of either driver. It could very well support your story, and increase your chances of obtaining compensation as a result.
Do I Always Need to Call Police After a Car Accident?
Minnesota law does not require drivers involved in “fender benders” (accidents that result in property damage of less than $1,000) to get in touch with the police – provided, of course, that no injuries have taken place. All you and the other driver have to do will be to exchange contact and insurance information.
Minnesota Penalties for Leaving a Car Accident Scene
If someone was hurt, however, you’ll have to call the police immediately.
As noted earlier, the penalties for not calling the police after an injury accident are extremely steep. You could be at risk of going to prison for as long as a year, as well as paying a fine of up to $3,000.
Suggestions for Reporting a Car Crash to Police
Here are a few things to keep in mind when contacting police in the aftermath of a car wreck.
- Your first call should be to the police while you’re still at the accident scene.
- During the call, tell the dispatcher about the details of the accident, and answer any questions you’re asked. When the officer arrives, they’ll talk to you, the other driver and any witnesses who may have seen the accident. Be completely honest and give all the details you can, but NEVER admit blame, even if you think you might be partially responsible. If you do, you won’t be able to obtain maximum compensation.
- Ask the police for a copy of your report, or ask your attorney to obtain a copy on your behalf. A copy should also be sent to your insurance company.
Contact McEwen & Kestner to Learn More
At McEwen & Kestner, our attorneys have years of experience helping people who have suffered injuries in vehicle accidents that weren’t their fault. We know you have a lot of choices when it comes to hiring a personal injury attorney. Our firm will do everything we can to earn your trust, and to help you obtain every bit of compensation you deserve.
We will work to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company in an effort to secure a fair settlement on your behalf. Our attorneys will use the police report to show you weren’t to blame, as well as any other evidence we can uncover through a detailed investigation.
But we will also be well prepared to take your case to court if that offer isn’t forthcoming. Our attorneys have years of experience fighting for our clients in a courtroom. And we have the skill it takes to do the same for you.