Is A Police Report Required To File An Insurance Claim?
If you are injured in a traffic accident in the state of Texas because the other driver was negligent, what does it take to file an injury claim? Will you need a copy of the police accident report? Will you be able to receive compensation for your injuries? Can a car accident lawyer help?
If you drive on the streets and highways in Texas, keep reading, and you’ll learn more about filing an injury claim and about your rights if you become an accident victim.
Here is an example of what can happen. Let’s say that you are involved in a traffic accident, but no one appears to be injured, and the vehicles have suffered only some body damage.
You exchange insurance information with the other driver, and there is no obvious reason to involve the police.
It’s only when you wake up the next morning that your back starts to hurt, you’re in tremendous pain, and you realize that you were injured in the collision, but you have no police report.
In some jurisdictions, the police will not even respond to an accident scene if the damage is minor and no one seems to be injured.
If you do not realize that you’re injured until the next day, and there is no police report about the accident, will you still be able to file an auto insurance claim?
CAN YOU FILE AN AUTO INSURANCE CLAIM WITHOUT A POLICE REPORT?
The answer is yes, you can still file an injury claim. But the truth is that without a police accident report, a great deal of extra work will be required to establish your injury claim, and the final compensation for your medical expenses and lost income will probably be delayed – and reduced.
Why is a police accident report so important? In any legal case arising from a traffic collision, a police accident report can be a key piece of evidence because it is an objective, third-party description of the collision shortly after it happened.
A police accident report is finalized only after the officers have spoken to both drivers and studied the accident scene and the damages.
If you are missing the police accident report when you submit an auto insurance claim, you are going to need other evidence that supports your claim.
Statements from others involved in the accident and from eyewitnesses can be helpful, along with photos of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles. (Always take photos whenever you are involved in any accident, even a minor fender-bender.)
WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT REPORT, WHAT’S NEEDED TO FILE A CLAIM?
Without a police accident report, you will also need to compile and write down basic details about the accident that a police report would have included, such as the location, time, and date of the accident; a description of road and weather conditions at the location and time of the accident; and a description of the vehicles involved in the collision.
If you have sustained only vehicle damage in a Texas traffic accident, or if your injuries are nothing but genuinely trivial light scrapes and bruises, it will probably be more expedient and reasonable to submit your damage claim and negotiate directly with the insurance company on your own.
However, if you sustain any significant injuries in a Texas traffic collision because the other driver was negligent, rather than filing an injury claim first, discuss the case with a skilled Edinburg auto accident attorney before you submit any claim or take any other steps.
An auto accident attorney can negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
WHY WOULD YOU NEED AN ACCIDENT ATTORNEY’S HELP?
Why is it important to be represented by a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been injured?
Because insurance companies have a number of ways to avoid paying you what an injury claim is worth – particularly if your injuries are catastrophic or disabling.
And if the insurance company refuses to compensate you appropriately, your lawyer may recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Especially if you have been significantly injured in an accident, and there is no police accident report, it is imperative to have an attorney’s help when you seek compensation.
Auto insurance companies can use the absence of a police accident report as an excuse to delay taking action on your claim.
WHAT CAN HAPPEN WITHOUT AN ATTORNEY’S HELP?
An auto insurance company might also refuse to negotiate your injury claim, refuse to investigate your claim, or refuse to spell out why your claim is being denied.
You might be offered a final settlement amount that is substantially below what your injury claim is actually worth.
For all of these reasons, if you’ve been injured by a negligent driver in south Texas, you should let a skilled Edinburg auto accident lawyer – a trained negotiator who routinely deals with insurance companies – represent you and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
IF YOU’VE BEEN INJURED, WHAT DO YOU TELL THE INSURANCE COMPANY?
Of course, you will need to inform your own insurance company when you’ve been involved in a traffic collision, but do not make any formal statement or sign any insurance documents at that time or at any time before you’ve had a consultation with a Texas traffic accident attorney.
In any traffic accident, always do what you can to have the police make an accident report and then to obtain a copy of that report.
Most personal injury cases are settled in out-of-court negotiations, and having the accident report strengthens your side’s position in those negotiations.
IF YOU’RE INJURED, HOW CAN A POLICE ACCIDENT REPORT HELP YOU?
Combined with medical reports and repair estimates, police accident reports can help to paint a complete picture of the vehicle damage and the extent of the personal injuries sustained in a collision.
If the police report about your accident suggests that the other driver was at fault, your attorney can probably use that information to obtain a more favorable settlement.
Representation by a personal injury attorney is imperative if you need to file a personal injury claim. If you’ve been injured in Texas by a negligent driver, you are entitled to compensation, and the law is on your side.
Most personal injury lawyers provide an initial consultation at no charge, so if you are injured in traffic in south Texas, exercise your right to put a qualified Edinburg auto accident attorney to work for you.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.