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Can You Sue and File a Claim Without a Police Report?

Updated April 1, 2024 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Say you are in a parking lot and someone took a turn a little too tightly, leaving your bumper and taillight pretty beat up. You call the police, but since it’s a minor incident with no injuries, the police decline to respond to the accident. You are left with a parking lot accident, no police report in hand, and car damage that needs to be repaired. Where do you go from here? Can you claim a car accident without a police report?

The short answer: yes, you can.

The car accident lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham can help you gather the evidence you need even without a police report to build your case. If you are involved in a minor crash, such as a parking lot accident, with no police report there is still the chance that you will get compensation.

Can You File a Claim Without Police Report?

The lack of a police report does not eliminate the legal process of pursuing a car accident lawsuit. Though a police report can expedite the process, it is not required.

Police reports do hold merit; this is true. Police reports provide a source of credibility which can strengthen the plaintiff’s claims. Police reports take an objective view of the accident. The investigative officer takes witness testimonies and includes a description of the accident, a diagram of the scene, and many other details. The officer also includes their own personal statement of their observations and opinions.

The police report shows the jury a picture of what took place, regardless of either the plaintiff’s or the defendant’s perspective on the accident. The purpose of a police report is to show a clear view of the scene of the accident and avoid a drawn-out process of comparing the different versions of the plaintiff and defendant.

One of the most important reasons why you can file a claim without a police report is because, though it provides a voice of reason, police reports are inadmissible in the eyes of the law. This means that it can be used as testimony but not as an end-all, be-all account of what happened.

Police reports are a third-party witness of the car accident. The police officer most likely was not at the scene of the accident, and therefore cannot testify as a first-hand witness. Instead, the police report is an account of multiple witnesses and a summary of what happened after the accident took place. In reality, a police report is important, yet it is also a hearsay account.

A police report does not legitimize nor delegitimize whatever damages occurred in the accident. It merely is a report of what did happen that can be used as testimony in a lawsuit.

That being said, they do hold weight, so it’s important to report the accident to a police station if you have the opportunity.

Filing an Accident Report Yourself

If the police do not come to the scene, you are entitled to file a report yourself. To do so, make sure you gather as much evidence as possible. This may include photos, video, and information about the accident. Specifically, the date, time, and location of the accident. Any information you can gather about the other person or people involved in the accident is useful, as well. To file the accident report, go to the nearest police station.

Insurance Claims: Can You File a Claim Without a Police Report?

Most insurance claims actually do not need a police resort, especially if there was only minor damage. Unless there is extensive damage done to your property, you have sustained injuries, or a crime has taken place, insurers will not likely need a police report.

Having a police report while filing an insurance claim would speed up the process of the claim. Yet, insurance claims can still go forward, it just may take longer than if a police report had been filed.

Collecting Evidence for Your Case

If you are in a car accident with no police report and no witness, you may still seek compensation and build a case. In order to build a strong case, you will need strong evidence. You first need what is called a burden of proof, meaning you need to show that the other party is liable for the accident. Liability is the responsibility of the person’s actions. When making a claim, you, the plaintiff, will attempt to prove liability for the other party’s negligence.

To prove liability and file a claim, you, with the help of your car accident attorney, need to collect as much evidence as possible detailing the accident. To document the evidence, you can:

  • Take photos and videos of your scene. If your phone has video recording, we recommend taking a video around the entire accident. Make sure you get all damages in the recording on both your car and where contact was made with the other vehicle. If there are skid marks or broken glass, include that in your video and with additional pictures
  • Collect the information of the other party involved in the accident, including name and insurance details
  • If there happen to be eyewitnesses, gather their information
  • Write down a detailed description of the accident. Any information you can remember should go in this description, including weather conditions, time of day, and surroundings

Any evidence that can hold the other party liable can be useful when your attorney is building a case for a car accident with no police report and no witness.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is the timeframe in which you can pursue a lawsuit after an accident occurs. In Indiana, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the collision. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Speak with your car accident attorney to determine if you are within the statute of limitations to claim a lawsuit.

When filing a claim for a car accident with no police report, you still need to file the claim within the statute of limitations. A police report will document the date, but again, you can present other evidence to show when the collision happened. Time stamped photos are one way to show when your accident occurred.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today

The car accident attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are here to represent you for a car accident claim. If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident with no police report, contact us today to see the steps you can take. We are here to help every step of the way. Call us at 317.886.1924 or fill out a free case evaluation today.

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