It is generally accepted that after a car accident, it is wise to call law enforcement and wait for them to arrive on the scene before leaving. In some cases, if one or both drivers leave the scene before police or troopers arrive, they may face allegations that they fled the scene. However, one of the primary reasons to wait for police is to make sure that an officer files a proper voice report and that you get a copy.
Unfortunately, this does not happen every time a vehicle collision occurs. In some instances, the accident occurs in a private parking lot or some other place where police do not respond (which varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction). The police, state troopers or sheriff’s department may also simply not have the personnel to take care of your accident if all officers are busy responding to other calls when you report the accident.
These are only some of many reasons why you may not get an actual law enforcement officer to come to the scene of your accident and write up a report. Fortunately, if you do find yourself in this circumstance, you can create your own police report.
What to do immediately after an accident
The most important thing after an accident is identifying whether any people suffered injuries that require immediate medical attention. Medical attention is one aspect of an accident where minutes or seconds may mean the difference between life and death, or a serious injury and a moderate one.
Next, you should reach out to the police and report the accident. Ideally, an officer will respond to the scene and you can proceed to call your insurance provider and swap insurance information with any other drivers involved.
While it is usually wise to report the accident to your insurer, be mindful to not make any statements that may imply liability in the accident. An insurer or another driver may use an admission of guilt against you later on.
Filing your own report
If a police officer does not come to create a police report at the scene, you can create your own report and submit it to the police yourself. Typically, the police station has forms you can use to file a report.
While at the scene of the accident, be sure to take as many pictures as necessary to fully document the damage, injuries, and any factors that potentially influenced the cause of the accident.
Your phone is a great tool for documenting a car accident. You can create videos of the scene to help create a bigger context for the causes of the collision. You can also use your phone to get the names and contact information of other parties involved in the accident. You may even use it to get an audio recording of any witnesses to the accident, or get an admission of guilt from another driver if they offer one.
You should also look for any security cameras in the area. If a security camera caught the accident, the owner of the camera will probably not keep it very long, so be sure to ask for the footage as soon as possible.
Build a strong case
Especially in cases where there is an injury and no official police documentation, it can be useful to enlist the guidance of an experienced attorney to help you through the process of filing your claim and following through on the claim to obtain fair compensation. Be sure to build a strong team to keep your rights protected after a car accident.