The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. Articles When Do You Have to Report Your Car Accident?

When Do You Have to Report Your Car Accident?

By Christopher Hoffmann  May. 31, 2018 10:22a

If you are in a car accident in the state of Missouri and no one was injured or the property damage was less than $500, then you are not required to report it to the police. It is possible for two people to handle their minor fender bender on their own, but, if you don’t report the accident within five days, then you might be making a huge mistake. The statute of limitations to file a police report for a car accident is within five days in the state of Missouri. If you don’t file before then, then you are not allowed to file for damages, which means you might be biting off more than you can chew.

Why do you want to file a police report?

If you think that barely any damage was done and you don’t need to report the accident, you might be making a grave mistake. Sometimes the car accidents that seem harmless can end up to be pretty disastrous. Minor injuries can become major very quickly when you are talking about car accidents, so making sure you cover yourself is critical.

Although a police report is inadmissible in court, it is an excellent tool for your St. Louis car accident lawyer to use during the negotiation phase. The negotiation phase is the time when the injured party and the insurance company will attempt to come to a consensus about what an injury is worth and who is responsible for it.

The main goal of the insurance company is to minimize the amount that they have to pay to someone who is injured in an accident. It is a big mistake to think that they have your best interest at heart. The only way to make sure that you are protected is to hire a St. Louis car accident attorney to do the negotiation for you.

What can the police report do?

Even if you think that the accident you are in is minor, there are times when the guilty party can come into question. Other times, the damages or injuries sustained start to add up. If you don’t have a police report on file, and either your injuries become more serious or the ones of the other driver escalate, then there is no record of what happened, which puts you at risk.

When that happens, it is a "he said, she said" scenario. Without a police report, there is no way to determine what happened both before and during the accident, and that lack of information could lead you open to being on the hook for injuries and damages that are not your responsibility.

You only have five days after an accident to file a report with the police. Although not mandatory unless there is over five hundred dollars worth of damage or someone being injured, you should think twice before deciding not to report your car accident.

A police report might be one of the best tools that your St. Louis car accident attorney has to settle the case in your favor and to get all that you are entitled to if a little fender bender starts to escalate into something more. Call a St. Louis car accident attorney 24/7 for a FREE consultation at (314) 361-4242.

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