How to Report a Car Accident to the Police

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Updated May 24, 2020 | Auto Accidents |


Do you really need to report a car accident to the police?

The answer is yes.

No matter how minor the collision, filing a police car accident report is a good idea—it can save you money, time, and hassle. 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.

Indiana Laws About Reporting Car Accidents

In some cases, it’s not just a best practice to file a car accident police report: It’s the law.

In Indiana, you must report any motor vehicle collisions involving injury, death, or entrapment of another person 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 under these circumstances, filing a police report is essential if you want to pursue legal action and get compensation for your damages.

Why You Should File a Car Accident Police Report

Usually, police reports cannot be used as admissible evidence in a trial, but they provide a lot of useful information for your car accident attorney. They are often used to determine liability during insurance settlement negotiations, and they are a helpful starting point for car accident investigations.

When to Report a Car Accident to the Police

The first step after any car accident is to call 911.

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 emergency medical services will be dispatched to the accident scene. The police officer will write up an accident report for you.

For minor collisions, such as a fender bender, law enforcement 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.

Police Officer Writes Car Accident Report

A police officer will likely record the following information in an accident report:

  • Date and time of the accident
  • Diagram of the accident scene
  • Description of the accident location
  • Description of visibility and weather conditions (rain, fog, snow, darkness, etc.)
  • Personal information, insurance details, and statements of all involved parties
  • Witness contact information and statements

Make sure you write down the officer’s name and badge number so you can follow up if needed.

Reporting an Accident to the Police After the Fact

If law enforcement declines to come to the accident scene, file a police report after the fact. Gather as much evidence as possible to include in your report:

  • Date, time, and location of the accident
  • Description of visibility and weather conditions (rain, fog, snow, darkness, etc.)
  • Personal information and insurance details of all involved parties
  • Witness contact information
  • Photos and videos of the accident scene

Go to the nearest police station to file your accident report.

Tips on Reporting a Car Accident to the Police

When reporting a car accident to the police, either at the scene or after the fact, follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t panic or lose your temper
  • Don’t admit fault, accept blame, or apologize for the collision
  • Don’t exaggerate or approximate details
  • Don’t make statements about the severity of your injuries

Keep these tips in mind as you speak to law enforcement. An experienced car accident attorney can help you navigate similar conversations with insurance agents and other lawyers.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, contact an Indianapolis car accident lawyer of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family fight for the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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