You may decide not to call the police in a minor car accident where you do not believe you were hurt and there is minimal damage to your vehicle. However, you could later discover that you suffered a serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, spinal injury, or back or neck injury, and need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. Here is how not having a police report can complicate your claim for compensation for your injuries.
When Are You Required to Report a Car Crash in Virginia?
You are required to report an auto collision in Virginia if someone was injured or killed or a motor vehicle or other property was damaged. You are required to contact the police within 24 hours of the wreck or as soon as possible if you are too hurt to contact them right away. It is best to call the police at the crash scene so that they can conduct an investigation and prepare a police report.
Can You File a Claim Without a Police Report?
Yes, you are not required to have a police report to file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company. However, you should expect that your claim will be more complicated. Whether an auto accident occurred can be in dispute if the other motorist denies being involved in the crash with you. The insurance company would also be more likely to argue that you were partially or completely at fault for causing the collision when there is no police report.
What Other Evidence Do You Need to Prove Your Case?
Even if you had called the police and obtained a police report, you would still need other evidence to prove the other driver caused your auto accident. This evidence will be even more crucial if you do not have a police report. Types of evidence that can help you include:
- Passenger statements. If there were passengers in your vehicle, you could use their statements to corroborate how your car crash occurred. However, you need to realize that they may be considered biased witnesses by the insurance company, especially if they were injured and are filing a claim too.
- Photos. Photographs of the damage to the vehicles, the collision scene, road conditions, and your injuries can be helpful to prove a crash occurred and who caused it.
- Eyewitness statements. Eyewitnesses who saw your accident as it occurred can be extremely helpful in proving your case if they do not know you and have no stake in the outcome of your claim.
- Traffic or surveillance camera footage. If a traffic or business surveillance camera recorded your accident, you need to get the camera footage. You should retain a skilled car accident attorney immediately to obtain it for you before it is taped over.
- Black box data. Your lawyer may also want to obtain the data from the vehicle that struck your car. It can provide valuable information, such as the speed the auto was traveling and whether the brakes were applied.
Do you need to file a claim for your injuries caused in an auto collision in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk areas? Call us at 877-960-3441 or fill out our online form to find out how our experienced car accident lawyers can assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve for your injuries.