Can You Claim Your Car Accident Without a Police Report?

If you were in a crash and didn’t tell the cops about it, you may want to know, “Can you claim a car accident without a police report?” In many cases, the answer to this question is yes. But it depends on what happened and what you mean by claim. Often, you can still file an insurance claim even if you don’t have a police report. And you may still be able to bring a lawsuit without it. That said, you still need to file your case within the deadline imposed by Pennsylvania law. Typically, the law gives you about two years to bring a claim, but some exceptions might give you more or less time to do this. If you have questions about how not filing a police report impacts your legal rights, an attorney can help. 

At Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC, we understand how easy it can be to forget to file a police report after a crash. After all, you likely had to check and see if the cars and people were okay. If you had to go to the hospital for your injuries, you may not have been able to notify the cops. Our Philadelphia car accident attorneys are here to guide you through this process and file the legal paperwork needed to assert your rights. Regardless of the reasons why you didn’t file a report, we may be able to help you. 

Can You Claim a Car Accident Without a Police Report?

Claiming a car accident can refer to two different things: filing an insurance claim and bringing a legal claim. It’s possible to claim a car accident without a police report, and the same is true for filing a lawsuit. The police report provides useful investigative information, such as when the accident happened, who was involved, and what occurred. But you may be able to proceed with a lawsuit or insurance claim without it. If you go this route, keep in mind that you may have to provide extra information to prove basic information about the collision. Let’s go over each of these options in more detail. 

Filing an Insurance Claim

When you bring an insurance claim, you ask your insurer to cover expenses based on your policy. In other words, you’re “claiming” what they promised to give you if you’re in a crash. For example, you might ask them to pay to repair your vehicle or get you a new one if yours is totaled. Or you may want them to cover your medical bills and those of your passengers. 

When you file a claim with your insurance, the agency may gather important information about what happened. If you also filed a police report, the insurance company may use this document to help guide their review. If you didn’t file a police report, they can gather this information in other ways, such as by talking to you and the passengers. 

Once they have the information they need, the insurance company may contact the other driver’s insurance company. From there, they might discuss what happened and negotiate a settlement between them. The insurance company may then make you an offer, which you are free to reject or accept. If you, the other driver, or the insurance companies can’t come to an agreement, you might be eligible to bring a lawsuit in court. 

Filing a Legal Claim

When you file a legal claim, you ask the court to require someone else to compensate you for their actions. As part of this, you make allegations against the other driver. In most cases, this involves accusing the other driver of some form of negligence (a tort). For example, you might argue that the at-fault driver was speeding when the crash happened. Or you might accuse them of causing the accident because they were texting and driving. 

What you can ask for in a Pennsylvania auto wreck lawsuit depends on what compensation you’re asking for and what type of insurance policy you have. In Pennsylvania, people can choose limited tort or full tort insurance policies. As the name suggests, a limited tort policy restricts the policyholder’s ability to file a tort (negligence) claim against the other driver. For example, they might be able to ask for economic damages but may not be able to request pain and suffering unless their injuries are severe. Conversely, full tort options allow people to sue for monetary and non-economic damages. 

If the victim filed a police report on the day of the crash, they might use this document to prove certain facts about the accident. For example, they may use this to establish the day, time, and location of the crash. They might also use the report to support their description of what occurred. If they didn’t submit a police report, they may use other means to establish these facts. For example, they can use eyewitness testimony or medical records to prove what happened. 

When Do You Need to File an Insurance Claim?

Your insurance contract tells you how long you have to tell your insurer if you’ve been in an accident. This time limit may span from a few days to a month or more. But the sooner you file the claim, the closer you might be to getting compensation. After you notify the insurance company about the crash, they will probably request additional information or send you forms. You will likely get an email with these details if you signed up for electronic communications. 

A personal injury attorney in Philadelphia can help you understand if and when you need to file an insurance claim. They can also review your insurance contract and tell you what your options are in terms of compensation. A lawyer can also file documents and talk to third parties (like insurance agents) on your behalf. Keep in mind that filing a lawsuit and claiming a car accident under your insurance policy each have separate deadlines. A lawyer can help you identify and meet your deadlines to start a lawsuit or bring an insurance claim.  

When Does Pennsylvania Require Filing a Police Report After a Crash?

Pennsylvania state law requires people to notify police if an auto accident injures someone. Likewise, if the cars are damaged to the point where it’s unsafe to drive them, people may have to contact law enforcement. If the driver cannot call the police because they are badly injured, passengers must do so. Ideally, the driver or the passenger should file this initial report after the crash or as soon as possible. If people are involved in a minor car accident that doesn’t result in injuries, they may not have to report the crash. 

If people cannot (or do not) tell the police about the accident right after it happens, Pennsylvania law gives them a five-day grace period to do so. They would need to write an incident report and provide it to the local law enforcement agency. The police officers may ask the person to provide supplemental information to fill in any gaps in the report. 

What Happens if You Don’t Contact Law Enforcement After an Accident?

If you don’t contact law enforcement after a crash, you may still be able to file an insurance or legal claim. But you may have to take extra steps to prove details about the incident. Additionally, you might face legal consequences if you didn’t stop the car and help those injured in the collision. The requirement to render aid to others is separate from the requirement to file a police report. So, if you assisted people involved in the crash but didn’t tell the police about the accident, you may not have committed a crime. An attorney can help you determine the possible repercussions if you didn’t notify the police or stop at the accident scene. 

Contact the Dedicated Car Accident Attorneys at Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC

Being in a crash can be a life-changing experience. If you didn’t notify the police about the crash, you may be worried about getting into trouble or not being able to get compensation for your injuries. You may still be eligible to bring a claim, even if you didn’t contact the police after a crash. 

Kalikhman & Rayz, LLC advocates for those injured on Pennsylvania’s roadways and highways. We provide confidential, nonjudgmental legal services to accident victims, helping them to feel empowered. Clients have appreciated the timeliness of our response and our efficient advocacy. Lawrence has been practicing law for nearly two decades. Throughout that time, he has helped many clients reach a favorable resolution after being injured in car accidents.  

If you were in a crash and would like to know if you can claim a car accident without a police report, contact us today by calling 267-489-2204 to set up a consultation.