Having a Police Report Protects You. Here’s How.
What you do immediately following your car accident can have a significant impact on your case. If you are involved in a car accident in Illinois, you must file a police report if a crash resulted in bodily injury, death, or more than $500 of property damage for uninsured drivers. Beyond these legal requirements, having a police report attached to your accident is vital in ensuring you’re legally covered moving forward. Let’s explore how.
A Police Report Protects You If the Other Driver Changes Their Story
“Filing a police report is a critical component of a car or truck accident case as it establishes an “official” narrative around the car accident events,”, said Adam Zayed founder and managing partner of Zayed Law Offices. The moments after a car crash can feel like a blur. It can be challenging to keep track of everything that happened during a collision once the initial shock begins to wear off—having a report filed staples down the essential facts and factors present during a crash or an auto accident.
Most importantly, having a police report filed protects you if the other driver attempts to change their story. When pressed by their insurance company or faced with legal charges, it’s always possible that a liable driver will attempt to misrepresent events in a way that lessens their liability. If you were the only other person present at the accident scene, it could be challenging to disprove any inconsistencies in their story without a report.
By filing a police report after the accident, you can establish an official timeline of events that will inform future discussions about the auto accident. If the other driver admitted fault or behaved in a way you feel directly caused the accident, having these factors documented is invaluable.
A Police Report Reinforces Your Personal Injury Claim
If you were injured during an Illinois car accident, a police report could be a significant factor in how your personal injury insurance claim advances.
Illinois law requires the police to be notified after an accident that involves bodily harm, and the officers will be able to prepare a police report when they arrive on the scene. Having an officer on the scene is also vital if you suspect that the other driver might be intoxicated or impaired. Including this information in your claim goes a long way to proving the other driver’s negligence.
Having a police report filed also helps if you sustain injuries that aren’t immediately apparent at the scene of the accident. Symptoms of some injuries don’t manifest until hours or days after the initial impact, and the shock of being in an accident can also numb you to pain. Having a police report that establishes liability can protect you if the other party attempts to minimize the injuries you exhibited at the scene of the crash.
All of these things can be deciding factors when negotiating with insurance companies. Automotive insurance companies are always looking for reasons to minimize or downplay the severity of a crash (and the cost of recovery) to lower settlement amounts. The contents of a police report can go a long way towards establishing that you were indeed a victim in this accident and that it is incumbent on the liable parties to make you whole.
Filing a Police Report Is the Responsible Thing to Do
Beyond the legal benefits and protections that come with filing a police report, doing so shows respect for both parties involved and the rules of the road. Given the stress of a car accident, it can be tempting to accept another party’s offers to pay directly for your car repairs or medical bills after a minor accident as a way of sidestepping insurance companies. However, doing this is never in the best interests of any party involved.
Filing a police report shows that you’re interested in honestly reporting and addressing the facts of the accident. It also demonstrates an investment in giving the other party fair consideration, even if the car accident resulted from their negligence.
A Note on Zayed Law Offices: Car Accident Attorneys
This article is made possible by the expertise of Adam Zayed of Zayed Law Offices.
"Driving in Illinois also means respecting the rules and responsibilities of the road. At Zayed Law Offices, we feel that every driver is owed an expectation of safety on the road, and we work tirelessly to make clients whole if this expectation is ever violated. We’ve recovered millions of dollars on behalf of victims involved in auto accidents in Illinois, and we fight tirelessly to ensure that our injured clients are awarded the settlement they deserve when working with our car accident lawyers. Get a free case evaluation today!"