Hopefully, you'll never be in a car accident. However, with an average of more than 10 million motor vehicle accidents occurring in the United States each year, it's always best for drivers to know the proper steps to take after an accident. One of those steps that's often overlooked is that of filing a police report, which is a legal requirement in most states--provided that the accident occurred on a public road. Still, there are a few specific things that you'll need to know in the event that you need to file a police report after a car accident.
You Don't Necessarily Need to File a Claim
First of all, don't make the mistake of thinking you don't need to file a police report because you're not planning on reporting the accident to your insurance company. The fact of the matter is that a police report is necessary, even if there's no damage to either vehicle involved. By filing a police report, you'll have a legally documented explanation of the accident. This way, in the event that you end up experiencing physical pain from the accident a few days later, you still have proof of what occurred.
An Officer Might Not Be Available
Understand that an officer might not be available to take your accident report immediately after it happens; this may be especially true if you live in a large city. If an officer can't immediately come to take your report, be sure to take plenty of pictures of the accident scene and exchange information with all other involved parties. From there, you can request that an officer contact you to gather information about the accident and complete a full report for you once the proper staffing is available.
Honesty is Always the Best Policy
Finally, don't make the mistake of leaving out important information or even lying to an officer when he or she comes to take a report. In the event that it's discovered you've lied or left out key information about your accident, you could end up in a lot more trouble than if you were honest in the first place. Depending on where you live, you could face fines or even have your insurance claim denied if you lie to an officer in your report.
By keeping this information in mind, you'll be able to successfully file a police report for your car accident and protect yourself from legal troubles down the road. For more information about the steps you should take after an accident, you may want to contact an auto accident attorney from a firm like Chiacchia & Fleming LLP.