Do you really need to report a car accident to the police?
The answer is yes.No matter how minor the collision seems, filing a police car accident report is a good idea—it can save you money, time, and headache. Police reports are valuable documents used when negotiating settlements with insurance companies, investigating the scene of the incident, and building a strong car accident case for you.
In some cases, it’s not just a best practice to file a car accident police report: It’s the law.
In Michigan, you must report any motor vehicle collisions involving injury, death, or property damage of $1000 or more to law enforcement. Additionally, you are also required to report accidents where damage to property (other than the vehicles in the collision) occurs.
However, regardless of whether your crash falls in the criteria under your circumstances, filing a police report is essential if you want to pursue legal action and get compensation for your damages.
In Michigan, police reports cannot be used as admissible evidence in a trial, but they provide a lot of useful information for your car accident attorney to work with. In many case, the police report is used to determine liability during insurance settlement negotiations, and they are a helpful starting point for your car accident investigation.
In order to make a police report, the first step to take after any car accident is to call 911 emergency. The dispatch will relay the accident information to the local police. Plus, there will be a recording of your report of the accident to the police even if the police never show up for whatever reason.
For serious crashes, such as when someone is injured or killed, property is damaged, traffic is blocked, the other driver is intoxicated, or there is debris on the road, law enforcement and any necessary first responders with emergency medical service training will be dispatched to the accident scene. The police officer is required by law to write up an accident report for you.
For minor collisions, such as a fender bender, on private property a law enforcement officer may decline to respond to the accident scene. If a police officer does not investigate, no police report will be filed, so you should report the accident as soon as possible regardless. Keep notes of who you spoke to, time, date, and location of the report to the police.
A police officer is legally required to prepare a traffic crash report with the following information in an accident report:
Make sure you write down the name of the police officer and badge number so you can follow up if needed.
Depending on the situation of your accident, police officers may not come to the scene to write a police report. The absence of police on the scene can be for many reasons. If you were involved in a minor collision, a police officer may not show up, but make sure you call them regardless and follow their instructions about reporting the accident because sometimes they tell you to go down to the local police station.
Other reasons may include the location of the accident or the weather. Regardless of reason for the police not coming to the scene of the accident, reporting an accident to police after the fact is always crucial to your insurance claim. Having an official written report after investigation by the police about the collision may help you if you decide to pursue a future settlement or lawsuit against the at fault party.
Another main reason why police officers may not come to file a police report for a car accident is if there are no reports of injuries. Speaking with the police about any injuries, no matter how minor they may seem, that may have occurred will help them determine if they will come to the scene of the accident or decide not to come. If law enforcement declines to come to the accident scene, reporting an accident to the police department after the fact is of utmost importance. Go to the police department and insist that a police report be made. When you call the police to report the accident at the scene, make sure to describe what happened. If there are any injuries, they will be able to help guide you about the next step to take.
If there is a public emergency such as a natural disaster or pandemic restrictions, police may not show up to the accident location. Your accident is still very important, but there may be reasons at large that prevent officers from leaving another police emergency situation or responding to one such as a minor collision.
Filing a police report after leaving the scene of the accident does not require evidence, but it’s a good idea to take pictures. Since the police will not be present, you will have to record by using your cell phone all aspects of the scene to include in your own report.
Gather as much evidence as possible to include in your police report:
After you have gathered evidence, go to the nearest police station to file your accident report. All you need to do is go up to the front desk of the precinct and ask to fill out an accident report. You also have the option of contacting the Michigan Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
In the state of Michigan, you need to report the accident “immediately” after the collision. You are legally required to file a report if someone sustained injuries, death, or property damage of $1000 or more. If there were serious damages, the police will most likely show up to the scene of the crash. If they do not show-up, reporting an accident to police after the fact is still your responsibility. If police do not show up to your accident after because there was no major damage or other reasons, it is still in your obligation and best interest to file a police report even days after an accident. It is up to the police to decide if they should or should not come to the location of the collision site. Always give police the option to respond by calling 911 for an accident.
If you have questions about reporting an accident to police after the fact, you can contact the attorneys at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm.
When reporting a car accident to the police, either at the scene or after the fact, follow these guidelines:
Keep these tips in mind as you speak to law enforcement officials. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate similar conversations with insurance adjuster or insurance agents and other lawyers representing anyone involved in the accident.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact a Detroit MI car accident lawyer at The Joseph Dedvukaj Firm. The auto accident lawyers at the Joseph Dedvukaj law firm can help you and your family fight for the compensation you deserve. Call now 1-248-352-2110 or fill out the online contact form below for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Also get a free police report at the initial consultation.