claim a car accident without a police report

Can You Claim a Car Accident Without a Police Report?

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 7 minutes

Can You Claim a Car Accident Without a Police Report?

Okay — you’ve been injured in a car accident, but you’re concerned that you can’t claim a car accident without a police report. We understand that the legal dispute process can be confusing and frustrating. So let’s take a closer look at some of these concerns and clarify the process for you!

Claim a car accident without a police report: is it possible?

Yes, it is possible to claim a car accident without a police report — but it isn’t necessarily recommended.

Most insurers don’t require that you have a police report in order to submit a claim, and in a legal dispute with the defendant, you won’t need one to sue. That being said, a police report provides “clear and credible” evidence that can be used to support your injury claims, so it’s a good idea to move forward with one as opposed to without one.

If — for whatever reason — there is no police report, you may be able to construct a strong legal case on the basis of an accident reconstruction analysis, video/photo evidence, and eyewitness testimony. So don’t despair, all is not lost without a police report! Police reports make it “easier” to prove certain facts. They are not the only way to prove those same facts, however.

How do I get a police report after a car accident?

You don’t have to “do” much — so long as there is a law enforcement officer present at the scene of the accident, a police report will be filed. That’s why it’s a good idea to call the police after an accident if they are not already headed your way. Let them know about the accident and — if you don’t have a medical emergency — wait for them to arrive.

Later on, you and your attorney will be able to request the official police report. Given how simple it is to ensure that a police report is completed, it’s worth avoiding any situation in which you’re attempting to claim a car accident without a police report.

How long after an accident can you file a claim?

How long you have to file a claim varies from state-to-state, and based on the type of claim that you’re attempting to file. Claim deadlines are referred to as “statutes of limitation,” and they are a critical piece of the injury dispute puzzle.

Be aware that deadlines are quite variable. In California, for example, you generally have a deadline period of two years (from the date of the accident). In Florida, by contrast, you generally have a deadline period of four years (from the date of the accident). Of course, if you have a claim against a government entity, you may be hit with a number of shorter-term procedural deadlines, so keep that in mind!

If you “miss” a statute of limitation deadline, then the claim will be deemed abandoned and you won’t be able to pursue legal compensation in court. This is a severe outcome, so it’s important that you consult with an attorney early on and file your claims in a timely manner.

That being said, if you have missed a deadline, it’s worth noting that some exceptions do exist that allow the deadline to be extended. These can be quite complicated, and fact-based, so we encourage you to speak to an attorney about this possibility before making a decision on whether to pursue or give up on your claims.

Compensation for car accident injuries

How much compensation are you potentially entitled to recover? This can vary substantially from case-to-case, as damages compensation is meant to cover “losses” — and not every injury victim suffers the same amount of loss. For example, a highly-paid employee who can’t work for a year will be able to claim a greater amount of wage loss than an unemployed individual.

Damages that you can potentially claim include:

  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Medical expenses
  • Property loss
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • And more

On rare occasions, where the defendant acted egregiously, intentionally, and/or maliciously, the court may choose to award bonus “punitive damages.” These act as a multiplier on your standard damages total. So if your damages total $100,000, then you could be awarded as much as $700,000 in punitive damages. That’s a substantial increase, so it’s worth exploring this option with your attorney.

What is compensation for pain and suffering?

Pain and suffering is a damages subcategory that may comprise a significant percentage of the damages total in many cases. It is meant to account for the many negative physical and psychological experiences that an injury victim goes through — for example, the pain felt when their bones were fractured in the collision, as well as the emotional suffering they experienced when unable to engage in the lifestyle activities that once brought them joy.

As pain and suffering can be difficult to measure, attorneys rely on expert witnesses who can testify as to the impact of the injuries on the victim. Skilled attorneys know how important this part of the process is. They gather persuasive experts and work with them to develop a cohesive strategy. This makes for effective attorney advocacy.

Hiring an injury attorney: the basics

Learning about how to proceed with your dispute — and the things to avoid, like attempting to claim a car accident without a police report — can feel overwhelming. There’s so much to keep track of, from deadlines to strategic considerations! That’s one reason why it’s so helpful to work with an attorney early on in the dispute process. They’ll not only provide ample guidance throughout every stage of the case, but will ensure that all the procedural and strategic aspects are taken care of in a timely manner.

Attorneys are more than just persuasive advocates. They take on a variety of responsibilities over the course of a dispute, including:

  • Investigating the accident scene
  • Reporting the accident to the relevant authorities
  • Identifying potential eyewitnesses
  • Gathering and preserving evidence
  • Submitting an initial demand
  • Handling sensitive communications on behalf of the client (insurer, defendant, etc.)
  • Negotiating a potential settlement
  • Filing claims in a timely manner
  • Navigating procedural issues as they arise
  • Strategically handling hearings and other legal proceedings
  • Pushing the case to trial, if necessary
  • Collecting compensation for the client
  • And more

Phew! That’s a lot.

What many people don’t realize, however, is that most injury attorneys operate on a contingency basis. This means that they only get paid if you do. If they successfully obtain compensation on your behalf, then they’ll take a percentage cut of that recovery. Otherwise, they won’t take anything. That’s zero upfront cost for skilled legal representation. It’s a win-win dynamic!

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then you may be entitled to sue for compensation. It’s important that you explore all your options, as the potential payout can help cover many of your losses, from medical expenses to lost wages, and more. That being said, we understand just how overwhelming it can be for a first-time plaintiff. It can be even more nerve-wracking if you haven’t done everything “perfectly,” like if you’re attempting to claim a car accident without a police report.

Here at 1-800-THE-LAW2, we operate an extensive legal network with experienced attorneys who are standing by to provide a free case evaluation. Contact us today to connect to one of our agents, who will ask a few questions before routing you to a car accident attorney who can potentially handle your case. During the initial consultation, you’ll get an opportunity to talk about your situation and get guidance on how best to proceed.

We look forward to assisting you!

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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