After a crash, you probably know that you'll have to speak with the police. The report they take will contain evidence and information about the collision, and that report can later be used to explain what occurred to the insurance company.
What some people don't realize is that the police can, and sometimes do, make mistakes on these reports that can hurt their claims. When you make a report and intend to use it for your insurance claim later on, it's essential that you make sure the details of the accident are accurate.
Do you always have to report a collision?
For minor collisions with no injuries, it's not usually necessary to file a police report, but it's advisable to call 911 and have the police come to the scene if you're in a crash of any type. Making sure an accident report is filed helps you document what happened and protects your interests.
Remember, not all injuries or damage is apparent right away, so there could be a need for a report in a day or two even if you think you're fine right now. Having a report also helps protect yourself against the other party filing a report and saying things happened in a way that may not have been accurate.
Can you leave the scene if the police haven't taken a report yet?
Unless you are injured, it's advisable to stay at the scene until the police have finished taking a full report. Doing so helps you guarantee that they take your statement accurately and that you can hear what others have to say. The police will also add some third-party information to the report, such as what they see at the scene. The police are objective, so their added information should be based on circumstantial evidence at the scene.
In the case that you are injured and can't make a report right away, you'll be able to file a report later on. The police may come to speak with you at the hospital or at your home. You can also visit the police station to complete your police report.
In the event that the police don't come to the site of the accident, you should still call to make sure that they won't be taking a report. If they will not take a report, then you will need to discuss how to best protect your interests with your attorney.