Hey, Barry Zlotowicz here from the LawFull channel. I am an Illinois injury attorney. On this video, we will answer the question: Should you file a police report after an auto accident?

More than likely, your state requires that if you are involved in an car accident that meets certain requirements, that you report the accident to your department of transportation or department of motor vehicles.

In my home state of Illinois, any driver involved in a traffic collision must file a traffic crash report within 10 days of the accident if the accident resulted in a death, injury, or more than $1,500 in property damage

There is no law in Illinois at least, that requires you to call the police after an accident. It’s important if you get in an accident, to check what your state law is on reporting an accident.

However, I can tell you from personal experience that it is extremely important to call the police after you are involved in almost any auto accident, from a minor fender bender to a severe accident which resulted in injury.
You need to document the existence of and facts surrounding your accident. If the police do not file a police report after investigating the accident, then it is your word against the word of the driver who caused the accident.

Two drivers in the same accident often see the facts very differently. Therefore, it’s important to have a neutral third party like the police investigate and document what happened. This could include measuring skid marks, talking to witnesses and looking at the damage to your vehicle to try and piece together what happened.

Not only is it word against word, but people’s stories often tend to change as time goes by. The guy who was so helpful at the accident scene suddenly disputes your claim about how the accident occurred. Without a police report, you have little evidence on your side to counter his argument.

In addition, after an accident you want to obtain the other driver’s auto insurance information. Often the other party does not want to give you their information. The police can do that for you.

Also, many people don’t call the police after an accident because their vehicle suffered minor property damage or they did not feel they were injured at the scene. Often however, property damage and/or injuries arise later. If you did not document the existence of the accident through a police report, it may be difficult to obtain compensation for your damages.

Another reason you want that police report is that after an accident, you want your vehicle fixed as quickly as possible. However, the defendant’s auto insurance company may want to see a police report to establish liability or responsibility for the accident before they pay for your property damage. Having the police report will expedite the process.

If the police refuse to come to the scene of the accident, you still file a police report. First, call 911 and get it on the record that an accident occurred. Then, as soon as you’re able, go to the closest police precinct and file the police report yourself. Document what time, where, and how the accident happened. Also, be sure to document if you suffered any injuries. There is no harm in reporting an accident to police after the fact.
Do you have to have a police report to file an insurance claim? No, a police report is not required to make an insurance claim. I’ve had many clients who had no police report. But I guarantee you, it will be easier to establish liability or responsibility for the accident if you do have the report.

Thanks for checking out this video. Please consider subscribing to our channel and if you have any questions or comments, put them in the show notes below. If I can’t help you, I’ll find someone who can.

Barry Zlotowicz
Chicago Legal Group