Do I Need a Police Report to File a Personal Injury Claim?

Fortunately, not every car accident results in an injury or requires filing a personal injury claim, but a significant portion do. If you’re in an accident — even one that seems minor — it’s important that you wait for the police to arrive and write up their official accident report. If it turns out that you need to submit a claim to your insurance company or seek damages from a negligent driver, the police report will carry significant weight in the evidence that you provide.

If your accident seems like a minor fender bender you may be tempted to just shake hands with the other driver and drive away. Even accidents that cause damage frequently lead to conversations about leaving the police and insurance companies out of the equation and working things out between the two drivers. No matter how much of a rush you’re in or how concerned you may be about your insurance rates going up, it’s important to wait and make sure that all of the pertinent accident information has been collected and officially recorded by the police.

There are a couple of extremely valid reasons why you need an official police report. The first is that New Jersey law requires reporting any automobile accident resulting in injury or death or in property damage of over $500. Notification of the accident must occur as soon as possible after the accident, and failure to report can lead to fines and suspension of your driver’s license and car registration.

Not only is the official report required by law, it will also be an essential tool if you need to file a personal injury claim. It will provide you with a quick source of information regarding the names of both drivers and any passengers that were in their vehicles; insurance information for both drivers; names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident; and data on the vehicles involved, the weather and road conditions that may have contributed to the accident, and the specific date, time, and location data.  Though the report itself may not be admissible, it will still prove to be a valuable resource. If nothing else, having called the police will disprove any defense offered by the at-fault driver indicating that the incident was minor.

If you need information on pursuing a personal injury claim, our experienced attorneys are here to help. Call us today to set up a time to discuss your situation.