Why You Should Always File a Police Report After a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident can be a very upsetting event. Nobody leaves their home expecting to get into a car accident, so it’s very common to get startled and panic if you do end up getting into one. One of the first things people think when they’ve been in a car accident is, “What should I do now?” In addition to assessing the damage, determining if you and the other driver has been injured, and exchanging information with the other driver, there’s also the matter about whether or not you need to report it to the police.
In the state of Michigan, you’re required to call the police if a car accident causes injuries or property damage worth at least $1,000. But no matter how minor the damage appears to be or how trustworthy the other person seems, it’s always smart to file a police report after a car accident. Even if the other driver was at fault, there’s less evidence to prove that they were the one who hit you if you don’t make a report.
Filing a police report can take extra time, which is one reason why many people are tempted to avoid it, but it’s very worthwhile. A police report will record the date and time of the accident, where the accident occurred, who was involved, the extent of the damage, notes about injuries, and statements from witnesses and the parties involved. If you’ve been injured and think you might want to file a lawsuit, a police report will be a very valuable thing to have.
Even if you don’t initially think you’ll be filing a lawsuit, making a police report is still a smart thing to do. A police report may help insurance companies get your benefits paid to you sooner. It’s also entirely possible that you don’t realize the full extent of your injuries yet. It’s quite common for accident victims to dismiss things like headaches, dizziness, or ringing in the ears as minor issues, thinking they’ll go away quickly, only to discover later on that they were symptoms of something more serious. In some cases, you might not start seeing signs of an injury at all until a while after the accident. By having a police report, you’ll have more evidence on your side that the accident caused your injuries.
Skipping the police report can also make it more difficult to collect for property damage later on. Just like it’s possible for an injury to seem insignificant at first, it’s also possible for damage to your car to seem less serious than it actually is. Filing a police report will create a record establishing that the other driver did indeed hit you and damage your car.
If you call the police after an accident, there might be some situations that prevent them from coming to the scene. Since police departments have a finite amount of resources to work with, they may have to prioritize the calls they receive. If an accident hasn’t caused any injuries or significant property damage, police might not be able to come out if they have more serious matters to deal with at the time. They also often don’t typically come out for accidents that happen on private property, such as in a business’s parking lot. But even if the police aren’t able to come to the scene of your accident, that doesn’t mean you aren’t able to file a police report. Simply head to the nearest police station and someone there will be able to help you get started.