Can You Claim a Car Accident Without a Police Report?

You suffer a car accident but would prefer to settle this situation without involving the police. Can you claim a car accident without a police report?

The short answer is that yes, in some cases, you may file an insurance claim without a police report. However, it’s better to have an accident report if you can. A car accident lawyer in Mobile, AL, can determine whether you must contact the police after someone hits your vehicle.

Do You Need To Report an Accident in Alabama?

In Alabama, you must notify the police of any accident that caused death, injury, or property damage over $500 if the at-fault driver was uninsured. The reporting deadline is 30 days after the accident.

Failing to report an accident may land you in serious trouble. If the accident resulted in property damage only, non-reporting would be a Class A misdemeanor with a possible fine of up to $1,000. Persons who don’t report an accident that led to injury or death may face a Class C felony conviction and much higher fines.

Since it’s better to be safe than sorry, report your accident when in any doubt. Preferably, you’d call the police from the accident scene and, if possible, wait for law enforcement to arrive. 

Why It’s Always Better To Have a Police Report

If you’re planning to file an accident claim, a police report is a key piece of evidence you’d use. Insurance companies may look into the police report to determine who caused the accident. With an accident report, you’re less likely to find yourself in a situation where your insurer denies coverage, and you end up paying for damages out of pocket.

Since car accident claims in Alabama operate on a fault basis, you must show that the other side was responsible. You’ll also have to prove that the accident wasn’t your fault if you want to avoid paying higher auto insurance premiums. Both are easier to do with a police report. 

A police report can also protect you in a situation where the other motorist gives you false information and disappears after an accident.

What’s in a Police Report?

A police report typically includes the following:

  • The time, date, and precise location of the crash
  • Information about the people and vehicles involved, like names, contact information, and license plate numbers
  • A diagram depicting the accident (the path the vehicles took and where they collided

The reporting officer may also give their initial conclusions about possible causes of the crash, like a note that one of the motorists showed signs of impaired driving

If you must report the accident after leaving the crash scene, provide as many details as possible about the collision, including its location, time, date, and circumstances. Also, include any information you have about the other motorist who was involved.

Sourcing a Copy of the Police Report

You can request a copy of the report through the law enforcement office that responded to the accident. If the police arrive on the scene, the reporting officer will usually give you an identification number. Use this number later to ask for a copy of the report.

Once you have the report, you can include it in your insurance claim, and the insurance adjuster will look into it to establish fault. 

Will an Insurer Accept a Claim Without a Police Report?

Supposing a report is unavailable, can you claim a car accident without a police report? Usually, yes, especially if you’re filing after a minor collision that didn’t lead to extensive damage or injuries. However, the claim process may be slower if you don’t have a police report.

In the absence of an official accident report, you will need to present other evidence to your insurer. This evidence may include:

  • Photos of the accident scene, focusing on damage to your vehicle, skid marks, and other important details
  • Dash cam or surveillance camera footage
  • The names, insurance details, and other information of any other motorists who were involved in the accident
  • Eyewitness statements, if other people saw the accident, and the witnesses’ identifying information
  • A detailed account of the collision, including the entire chain of events, possible factors that caused the crash, road and weather conditions, etc.

How Long Do You Have To File a Claim?

In Alabama, you must file a personal injury claim within two years of the accident and a property damage claim within six years. However, in practice, you should talk to a lawyer shortly after your accident and decide your next steps. The sooner you begin working on your claim, the easier it will be to collect witness statements, medical reports, and other evidence. 

Does a Police Report Mean an Insurer Will Automatically Accept Your Claim?

A police report is only part of the evidence you’ll provide when filing your claim. The at-fault driver’s insurance company may still dispute this report and deny your claim based on other factors. 

The larger your potential settlement may be, the stronger incentive an insurer may have to challenge your claim. If you suffered a serious accident with high ensuing damages, you always need a competent lawyer to protect your rights.

Call Jackson & Foster Law for Help With Your Car Accident Case

The general answer to “Can you claim a car accident without a police report?” is “Sometimes, but having such a report is immensely helpful if you plan to sue for damages.”

If you’re preparing to file a car accident claim, call us at Jackson & Foster Law to consult an experienced attorney who knows all about car accidents and insurance companies. We’ll let you know whether you need to report your accident to the police and guide you through the process of filing a claim.

Call 251-433-6699 or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation.

Contact us for an evaluation of your case today.