In the event of a major
crash, usually somebody, whether it’s someone involved in the accident
or a bystander will call 911 to report the accident. Soon after, the police
and possibly an ambulance will be dispatched to the scene of the crash.
While the police are at the scene, they will document the accident in
a police report.
But, what if the police never show due to weather or bigger, more pressing
911 calls? What if the drivers think the accident is minor, so they never
call the police? In other words, if the police don’t show up after
an accident for one reason or another, what should the innocent driver
(plaintiff) do next? Before we address making sure an official police
report is made, first let’s look at
why the police may not show:
- There were no injuries. If the accident was not a priority because no one
was hurt, the police may have to prioritize another incident; for example,
an injury crash, or an armed robber at a convenient store.
- If a severe storm, blizzard, flood, or other extreme weather condition
prevents the police from responding to a non-injury crash, the police
may not be able to write the report in person.
- The property damage was so minor (e.g. less than $500), the police may
not take the report at the scene.
Do I Need to Report a Minor Incident?
No matter how minor the accident, it’s important to get a police
report. If the police do not make it to the scene of the crash because
they have other priorities, you can ask the police dispatcher
how to file an official police report after the accident.
You can file a report after the fact
at the station, or sometimes you can do it online. Our advice is to file a report in
person, but you can see if your local department’s website allows
you to file reports online. Why are police reports so important? There
are several reasons.
Even if the property damage seems minor, you could later learn that it’s
going to cost thousands to repair the damage. Also, if you notice a problem
with your vehicle shortly after the crash, it helps to have a police report
to document that the accident actually happened. Another issue –
you could discover that you suffered from whiplash, a concussion, or a
back or neck injury, which will incur damages that you’ll want to
be compensated by the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Before filing a police report, gather the following information:
- The name of the other driver.
- The other driver’s insurance information.
- The names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
- Photos (taken with your smartphone) of both vehicles at the scene of the crash.
Occasionally, the police will be too busy to respond to a minor accident.
If that happens to you it doesn’t have to affect your
personal injury claim. If you live in or near Columbia, SC and you were involved in a
contact our office for a
free case evaluation!