Do I Need a Police Report to File an Insurance Claim?

If the police report is missing, it could complicate the process of filing a claim. The good news is that a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer could help with the claims process.

The benefits of a police report

Police reports are important following a car accident– thanks to their evidentiary value. The report compiles all of the available information relating to the crash, including details of the accident site, the vehicles involved, and the drivers.

Typically, it will include a diagram of the accident scene and a summary of any witness statements. These reports are valuable given that an independent third party– the responding police officers— are responsible for making it.

Important information provided by these reports include:

  • The street or intersection where the accident occurred
  • The time, date, and weather
  • The identity of eyewitnesses and their statements
  • Descriptions of the vehicle damage
  • Photographs of the scene
  • Road conditions
  • Statements from the other driver

The information included in a police report will go a long way toward providing your insurer with what they need to decide on your claim.

What a police report cannot do

Police reports are valuable, given the amount of evidence they can provide. Insurance adjusters know this, which is why they often rely heavily on it. In some cases, the officer will even decide who is at fault. This could include a citation for the responsible driver.

Police reports are not all-powerful during the claims process, however. Often, the report will not make a determination of fault due to the lack of conclusive evidence.

It is also common for insurance carriers to disagree with the conclusions of the officer regarding civil liability and refuse to pay the claim. When this happens, your best bet for financial compensation could lie with a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer.

Reasons for missing accident reports

There are several situations where a police report might not be available. One of the most common– and problematic– is when the other driver convinces you not to call the police with promises of taking care of the damage later.

Should the driver go back on that promise, you could be in a tough position with the insurance company. With many auto policies, the failure to immediately notify your insurer of your accident could result in the denial of your claim.

Police reports are also commonly unavailable for collisions that occur in parking lots. While the police are required to respond to accidents on public roadways, responding to private property is at their discretion in most jurisdictions.

However, the police will likely appear and make a report if the accident involves bodily injuries.

How an attorney could help

While the claims process could take longer without a police report, a Pittsburgh car accident attorney could help you obtain compensation. Your attorney could thoroughly investigate your accident, providing the same information to your insurer as a police report.

This investigation could include speaking with witnesses, visiting the accident scene, and inspecting the physical damage to your vehicle.

At Chaffin Luhana, we have extensive experience investigating an accident claim from scratch. Our attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of their clients throughout their careers.

Contact us today

If your claim is ultimately denied by the insurance company, you are not out of options. We could bring a civil action against the responsible party to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.

To discuss your options in person, schedule a free consultation with us immediately.