How a Missing Police Report May Hurt Your Injury Claim
Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on July 14, 2021 in Car Accidents News
After some minor accidents, drivers may prefer not to wait for the police to arrive to file a report. They may just exchange information with the other driver. Unfortunately, opting to not get the police involved may affect your chances of recovering compensation.
If you were injured in an accident and did not report it to the police, you may still have time to file a report to help you recover the compensation you need from the liable insurance company. Our New Jersey car crash lawyers are prepared to help you through the process to try and maximize your compensation, even if you waited to file a police report.
We can discuss your claim during a free consultation to see what your legal options may be, and there are no fees while we work on your case.
WHEN IS A POLICE REPORT LEGALLY REQUIRED?
In New Jersey, drivers involved in an accident that results in injuries or property damage of more than $500 are legally required to file a report with the local police department, New Jersey State Police or the nearest county’s police department. Individuals who fail to adhere to this rule may face a fine of up to $100.
It is important to note that not every accident causes injuries that are immediately noticeable, so you may not know right away whether your crash merits filing a report. Fortunately, the state gives you up to 10 days after the incident to file a written report with the state’s motor vehicle commission.
WHY SHOULD I FILE A POLICE REPORT?
Aside from the legal requirements of filing a police report after an accident, it is generally a good idea to have an objective third party determine the cause of the crash and which driver was at fault. This way, when you file a claim with the insurance company, there may be less chance of a “he-said-she-said” dispute over liability.
In addition to third-party objectivity, a police report may provide information from anyone who witnessed the events that led up to the crash, such as whether the other driver was texting or otherwise distracted before the collision. When writing a demand letter to the insurance company, you may be able to include this information to help validate your claim.
CAN THE INSURANCE COMPANY DENY MY CLAIM?
While failing to file a police report may result in a fine from the state, it may not be reason enough for an insurance company to deny liability.
First, it is important to remember that New Jersey is a no-fault state, which means that your own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) should cover your medical bills regardless of who was at fault for your accident. If you can prove in another way that you were injured in a car accident, the insurance company should not be able to deny your claim. However, proving a car accident without a police report may be more complex.
If you exchanged information with the at-fault driver and file a claim with his or her liability insurance, the adjuster may request a police report. Again, not having a report should not automatically mean that they deny your claim. It just may be more difficult to recover compensation.
LET US HELP. CALL US TODAY
Our experienced team of lawyers is prepared to help you fight back against the insurance company if they try to deny your claim because there is no police report. While you are legally required in some instances to file a report, there may still be time to file a report. It is important to speak to an attorney as soon as possible to learn how else you can protect your claim.
Schedule a free consultation with our attorneys today to discuss the facts of your case and see how we may be able to help you recover the compensation you need for medical bills and other damages.
Call us today at (800) 518-0508