Do You Need a Police Report to Prove Fault in a Car Accident

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Care accidents happen very fast and give little time to process what is happening at the moment. The consequences of some crashes can be devastating, and the entire experience, chaotic. If you are ever involved in a car accident that was not your fault, you will want to prove it. Most insurance companies need to know who is at fault for the collision. This information determines if they will cover any injuries or property damages. After a vehicle crash, place your focus on taking the necessary steps to prove your innocence. While gathering information, remain mindful of others recovering from injuries and trauma. To successfully deal with the process, it is crucial to take meticulous notes about the accident, damages, and injuries. Find out the best ways to interact with insurers and whether to sue the other driver involved in the accident. You will also want to learn if a police report is required to prove who is at-fault for the car accident.

Is a Police Report Necessary to Prove Fault in a Car Accident

Police reports can provide a great deal of valuable information. They help provide evidence that can clear or confirm who is the at-fault driver in a resulting personal injury lawsuit. Not only can a report reveal an officer’s official account of what happened, but also share detailed observations about the accident. This includes the length of skid marks or the position of vehicles on the roadway. Reports contain information about whether a driver was issued a ticket and can provide insights into each of the drivers' behavior.

But it is important to note that police officers do not come to all accident scenes. Especially when the accident is minor and there are no injuries. Thus, a police report is not needed to prove fault or liability in an auto accident. Yet, having one can make it easier when settling who is at-fault for the collision. As you will need this information for insurance companies. If who is at-fault for the crash is up for debate, a police report is also helpful when in court.


Having a police report is useful in determining whose insurance company is responsible for covering damages. With or without a police report, discovering who is at-fault for a vehicle collision still needs to happen, which becomes the responsibility of insurance companies. They will gather evidence from all parties and any available eyewitness accounts to support an insurance claim.


To protect your claim, it is vital and highly advisable that motorists gather their own evidence after a car accident. Take many photos, videos, witness statements, contact information, and details of the other driver before leaving the scene. In some cases, it is the law that judges who’s at fault. The decision typically depends on the type of accident.


When the Law Determines Who is the At-Fault Driver

Car accidents are not always as they seem at first glance, which is why it is vital to follow the evidence. Gathering and examining data offers a more telling story of the account of events that led to why the car accident happened. Automobile accidents and legal claims involve the details of negligence like drunk or reckless driving. These are essential factors taken into consideration by civil courts. The law uses the type of accident to determine who is the at-fault driver.


Examples of Different Types of Car Accidents

Usually, it is not hard to find who is at fault for a collision because of the type of accident it is, and by looking at each driver’s actions or inactions.

  1. Rear-end accidents:

These accidents are almost always the fault of the driver who ran into the back of another vehicle.

  1. Left-turn collisions:

These accidents are almost always the fault of the driver taking the left turn.

But some crashes are not as cut and dry.


If you are ever unsure of who is at fault, you must review your state’s “Rules of the Road” handbook. This book can be found on your local DMV's website and in the state's highway manual. Alternatively, you can consult with a personal injury attorney to determine the viability of your case.


How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident?

It is best to report a car accident as soon as you can. Although your first priority is to tend to any injuries and receive medical help. Once you are seen by medics and or doctors, make sure you report the crash. If you can do this while still at the scene, it is highly recommended that you do it. Most insurers have a 24-hour accident claim hotline and a mobile app that you can use for a claim. If it is a single-vehicle accident and you are not sure whether to report it, it is best to read through your policy and make an informed decision once you get home. It is essential to know that many insurance companies require policyholders to make claims within a specified window of time after an accident. But these limits are not always made public and are usually specific to each policy.

You should contact your insurance company to find out what your limit is to file a claim.


Car Accident Lawsuits and the Statute of Limitations

Lawsuits are sometimes necessary if the insurance company fails to adequately cover your damages. But every U.S. state has strict time limits for filing a lawsuit, which is called the civil statute of limitations.


Whether you are involved in a fender bender or head-on collision, if you file a lawsuit due to not receiving complete coverage, here is what you should know:

The time begins "tolling" on the day of the incident.


If you wait six months after an accident to file an insurance claim but then decide to sue, you are already six months into the statute of limitations.


Check the state you live in to find out its time limits and claim types.


In Illinois, you have two years in which to file a personal injury claim but five years for "injury" to personal property (in this case, damage to your vehicle).

But, remember, this is not the same in all states. So check to find out yours.


There are also differences in the way each state treats negligence (fault), and it is crucial to understand state law before determining who is “at-fault” in a crash.


Meet with a local car accident attorney to learn more about assessing fault, insurance claims, limitations, and all the other legal options.

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Main Office: 200 E. Robinson St. Suite #400, Orlando, Florida 32801. Attorney Jeffrey Kaufman, Licensed in Florida Disclaimer: the purpose of this site is to provide information about legal options, not to provide legal or professional advice. You should not assume that the information on this site applies to your case without consulting with an attorney first. Requesting an initial consultation does not create an attorney client relationship. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be solely based on advertisement.

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