Sometimes, how an accident develops may mean that you end up without a copy of the police report. When this happens, you may be wondering whether you can file a claim even without this important document. To get all your doubts answered and decide on the best way to proceed to protect your legal rights, it may be a good idea to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney.
In the meantime, read on to get more information on how to go about filing an accident claim without a police report.
Why Is Having a Police Report Important?
If this is the first time you have filed a claim with your insurance company, you may be unsure as to what steps are involved in filing or what documents you will be asked to present. One of the first ones you may be asked about is the police report. This is an official document created by the police officers who responded to the accident or the site of the theft or vandalism. In it, you will find details regarding the incident which include:
- Location of the incident
- Parties involved
- Statements from witnesses, if there were any
- Any other pertinent information
Your insurance company will ask for the police report when processing your claim because it provides them with an objective record of what happened, thus helping them determine who was at fault and the extent of the damages.
When Should I File a Police Report?
There are cases in which a police report may not be necessary when filing an insurance claim. However, having one will offer the insurance company valuable information that may help them process your claim faster, especially in cases where there is doubt over fault or damages.
There are several motives for you to file a police report. Here are some of them:
To Establish Liability
Having a police report can help establish who was at fault for the accident. The report will usually describe the circumstances of the incident and may also have statements from witnesses.
To Protect Yourself
Should the other party attempt to dispute the events or file a false claim against you, a police report can help to protect you. The information in the report is objective and you can use it to defend yourself should it become necessary to do so.
To Meet Legal Requirements
If injuries are involved or the accident resulted in major property damage, it may be a legal requirement to file a police report after the incident.
To Pursue Criminal Charges
If the incident is related to criminal activity like vandalism or theft, a police report can help the authorities pursue criminal charges against whoever is responsible.
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Requirements of the Insurance Company
Depending on the insurance company, you may find that a police report is a requirement for the claim to be processed. Check the policy to verify this information.
What Type of Incidents Require Me to File a Police Report?
There are many types of incidents that can require the filing of a police report, such as:
For Car Accidents
If there are injuries in a car accident or significant property damages, it is advisable to file a police report, This document will establish fault and provide an objective account of the incident.
When There Is Property Damage
If you suffered vandalism or a break-in, you should file a police report to identify who was responsible. This will ease your insurance process.
If You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence
When there is domestic violence involved, it is imperative for the victim to file a police report for their protection and to establish a record of the violent incident.
After a Hit-and-Run Accident
In hit-and-run accidents, you are unable to exchange information with the other driver. When you file a police report, you increase your chances of the police finding the party responsible for your injuries and losses and this will facilitate your insurance claim.
When You Have Been the Victim of Identity Theft or Fraud
If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, you should file a police report to help the authorities investigate your case and take the necessary action against whoever turns out to be responsible
Can I File an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report?
You can file an insurance claim without a police report. However, it will be up to you to provide the insurance company with as much information as you can. The more information you provide, the greater your chances of the insurance company processing your claim efficiently and quickly. Some key pieces of information may include:
- Date, time, and location of the incident
- Full description of the incident including its cause and the events that led up to it
- Description of all damages and losses
- Contact information of the parties involved, like the other driver’s license and insurance policy numbers
- Information on any witnesses and their testimonies should you have them
- Photos or video of the incident, including your injuries and the damage to your property
- Any relevant documents like repair bills, estimates, and other expenses
In general, it is much easier to get away with not having a police report when the incident is minor, such as a fender bender in which nobody is injured. When the incident is more severe and there are more extensive injuries, a police report may offer you the best reinforcement for the information you are giving the insurance company.
If you find that you are still having problems with your claim moving forward even with a police report, your best course of action is to reach out to an experienced accident attorney who can help evaluate the situation. Your lawyer can explain your legal rights and offer ways to strengthen your case with the insurance company. They can also do all the negotiations on your behalf while you focus on recovering your health.