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When should I request a police report after an accident?

Car accidents are a pain. Besides the physical damage and potential injury, there’s the loss of time and extra paperwork that comes with them. Even a minor fender bender in a parking lot creates a hassle that’s outside of your daily routine and, likely, makes you late to your next stop.

You should do three things after an accident:

  • Get the name and contact information of anyone involved.
  • Report the accident to your auto insurance.
  • Request a police report.

Do I really need a police report?

Getting contact information from the other driver should be a quick act, and you can call your insurance company as time permits, but seeking a police report means you’ll need to wait at the scene and take more time. It’s still a necessary artifact that can solve disputes later on.

There are five main reasons to get a report:

  • It creates a record of the accident, including basic information including driver names, date, and road conditions.
  • The police will record witness and driver contact information, which may be needed later, especially if there is an uncooperative party.
  • Indiana law requires a report for any crash that results in injury or more than $1,000 in damages.
  • While the damage may appear minor, sometimes it costs more than first thought.
  • Similarly, injuries can take time to reveal their full severity.

In any of these cases, the report provides a detailed record of the event for any future developments.

Keep the big picture in mind

Anytime you’ve been in a car accident, there is a moment of surprise and confusion about the process — whether there are injuries, severe damages or a few ugly scratches across your paint job. Your judgment is clouded after an accident and it’s easy to let daily concerns override the bigger picture.

For any collision, big or small, it’s wise to get a police report that records the incident and basic information. You never know what may surface once the moment has passed. You may feel aches and pains the next day, or your body shop may find structural damage that isn’t visible to the naked eye.

If you need help with compensation after a car accident, a personal injury attorney can help to determine the right steps to take to make sure that your rights are protected.

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