Some car accidents appear minor at the moment. All the drivers involved appear unharmed, the car damage is minor, and everyone is licensed and insured. It doesn’t make sense to trouble the police in these instances, especially if the drivers agree it’s not necessary. In fact, in some cases, if the accident appears to be a minor fender bender, law enforcement won’t allocate resources to a scene that doesn’t need them. People who don’t obtain a police report may believe they don’t need one; however, many accident victims experience delayed injuries and symptoms. Some drivers may also realize the damage to their car is far more extensive than they had initially thought.
Once victims realize their damages are more severe than they initially believed, they may also want to file a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. The victim can recover financial compensation by filing a personal injury claim with the other driver’s insurance company. However, to recover compensation for their damages, they will need to prove the other driver was not negligent and liable for the victim’s injuries—this is where a police report comes in handy.
In Arizona, car accidents must be reported if:
In the absence of these requirements, drivers are not required to contact law enforcement. However, if one driver wishes to file an insurance claim, the absence of a police report makes it more challenging. When a claim is filed after an accident, insurance adjusters want to know who is at fault before deciding whose insurance will cover the damages. A police report is a significant piece of evidence that details the official account (from an officer’s opinion) of what happened at the time of the accident. These details are helpful to insurance adjusters because it’s from a credible third-party witness that includes how both drivers behaved in the accident.
A claim can still be successful without a police report; but requires a collection of alternative evidence to prove negligence and liability. If not much time has passed, call the police to report the accident and be ready to support the facts with photos and/or witness statements.
Police reports also record vital information needed in the claim process.
If it is too late to get the police to take a report of traffic collision, it is up to you (and your car accident lawyer) to find alternative evidence to prove your case, which may include:
While a car accident insurance claim without a police report can still be successful, the process will require more time and likely become a longer process. Insurance companies will want to scrutinize a claim that lacks the trustworthy information provided in a police report, which leads to delays. Without a police report, insurance companies may also reduce their settlement offers since there is no police report to back up the estimated value of your claim.
Jensen Phelan Law Firm has decades of experience representing Arizona residents who have been victims of another party’s negligence. We understand that dealing with insurance companies can be overwhelming, especially when their job is to scrutinize your claim. Our specialist personal injury attorneys know how to deal with insurance companies and how to fight for our client’s right to full and fair compensation. We will work tirelessly to ensure that they don’t dismiss your claim and that you aren’t accepting lowball settlement offers. You can schedule a consultation at (928) 778-2660 or fill out our contact form.