Not filing a police report immediately after a car accident puts you at risk. Find out why and what you can do if you didn’t file one.
Your auto accident seems like no big deal.
And you don’t want to go through all the rigmarole of reporting a car accident to the police which probably won’t result in you getting anything anyway.
What could happen if you choose to do that?
You Can File a Police Report Days After Your Accident
Texas law says you don’t have to file a police report if you estimate the damages caused at less than $1000.
But, let’s say you go to the mechanic, and you find out you misjudged. It’ll actually cost you $2500 to repair your car.
Or, what if your neck starts to hurt a few days later?
You can still protect yourself. You do that by filling out a “CR-2 Crash Report.”
It’s just like a standard police report you fill out immediately after an accident. You simply report all the facts of your accident as you remember them.
But you need to do this within 10 days of your accident. When you get in an accident and report to the police immediately, they fill out a CR-3 form. They must do so within 10 days of your accident.
The 10-day limit is there to protect the facts from getting distorted by your memory.
If you didn’t take any pictures at the time of the accident, go back to the scene of the crash and take the pictures you can.
But It’s Wisest to File a Police Report Immediately After Your Accident
Let’s say the accident was worse than $1,000 in damage. If that’s the case, and you didn’t file a report, the judge can fine you up to $5,000 and give you a little jail time.
Even worse, you give the at-fault driver’s insurance company a little more of an advantage.
Without all the facts of the situation documented most accurately immediately after the accident, they may have an easier time finding gaps in your story.
And of course, they’ll use that information to minimize your claim or deny it entirely.
Just Keep It Simple and Always Call 911 After Every Car Accident
You’re not wasting the police officer’s time by having them come out for any type of crash, no matter how small.
And you’re giving yourself maximum protection, just in case the whole situation blows up into a real mess later on.
So, just keep things simple and call 911 after every crash. And while you wait for the police to come:
- Check your own physical condition, and that of the other drivers
- Take photos of the accident scene, including debris, signs, damage to your car and the other driver’s car, skid marks, and anything else that seems significant. You can’t have too much evidence. And your smartphone has plenty of storage for you to take as many images and videos as you want.
- Get contact information from all witnesses. They’ll usually leave shortly after the police arrive, so you have to act fast.
So, please, just keep things easy on yourself and file a report after your accident, even if it seems like you don’t need to file one.
It saves you so much trouble later on if you do.