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Missouri Rules on When You Need to Call Police after a Car Accident

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Categorized as Legal Updates

There are a few basic things that you need to do after you have been involved in an accident. You may know these things if you’ve been in an accident before. You need to remain at the scene, help anyone who is hurt, and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. You should also take pictures of the scene, don’t admit fault to the other driver, and call your insurance company. However, you may be wondering if you need to call the police to file a police report. Depending on the severity of the accident, sometimes the police are alerted and will arrive without you needing to call them. If they haven’t come, you may wonder if you need to call the police to report the accident and may wonder if you need to have a police report to file a claim with your insurance or the other driver’s insurance.

If you were in an accident in Kansas City and are wondering how to proceed with filing a claim for compensation for injuries, contact a Kansas City lawyer who can explain the process and what information you need to document the accident and your injuries. Please contact a Kansas City car accident lawyer at (816) 578-0580, who can help guide you.

Am I Required to Call the Police after a Car Accident?

Many people are uncertain about the rules for when the police need to be called after a car accident. Car accidents are always stressful. Regardless of how major or minor the damage is, getting into a car accident can be an unsettling event. Many times, after a car accident, at least one of the parties involved may want to avoid filing a police report for several reasons. Perhaps they think it will help avoid an increase in auto insurance costs, perhaps their registration or license renewal was overdue, or perhaps they don’t want the police to document that they were the ones at fault. In some cases, both parties believe that filing a police report and filing a car accident claim is a hassle, and want to avoid contacting the police or filing a car accident claim due to the hassle that many believe comes with the process.

However, the law is that the Missouri Department of Revenue states that you are required to file a car accident police report if:

  • The accident happened less than one year ago
  • The crash caused more than $500 in property damage OR at least one person was injured or killed
  • Your insurance company requires you to report the accident to the police
  • You damage a parked or unattended vehicle, and the owner is not present

At the accident scene, it can be hard to determine the amount of damage incurred by both vehicles. Something that may look small may be quite expensive due to the cost of materials or labor involved in repairing. Since car parts are so costly, $500 is a very low threshold of damage, and most accidents, even seemingly minor collisions, will easily incur damage that exceeds this value. If you are even remotely unsure, it’s best to file a police report. Damages may be more extensive than you think.

If you are involved in a minor accident that seemingly involves no injuries, the police may decline to respond to your accident, although this may be a rare occasion. However, if that is the case, you might wonder if you can sue and file a claim without a police report. In Missouri, an injured party can sue and file a claim without a police report. To do so, it’s important that you gather evidence at the scene and document everything you remember about how the accident occurred. You should hire an experienced lawyer who will help make sense of the evidence and help you document and prove the other party’s fault. At Peterson & Associates, we are experienced in personal injury law and will work with you to secure the best outcome possible for you.

What are the Benefits of a Police Report?

A police report is a clear, undisputed record of the events surrounding a car accident from an official source. Many car accidents can turn into a case of a he-said, she-said situation because nobody wants to be at fault, and they view the events differently. However, if a police officer comes to the scene, they can examine the crash, document the incident, and speak to both drivers. A police officer on the scene will also speak to any witnesses that might have seen the accident. The police report contains useful information such as:

  • The precise location where the accident occurred
  • The time and date of the accident
  • The extent of damage to vehicles and property
  • Injuries, if any, sustained by drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and any other involved parties
  • Statements and identifying information of eyewitness
  • Statements of each driver about their perspective of the accident
  • Environmental information about when the accident occurred, such as road conditions, fog, etc.

Missouri is a comparative fault state, so determining fault can be a messy process. However, a police report is an unbiased piece of evidence that can be given to your insurance company to establish fault and even used in a trial as objective evidence. If you hire a car accident attorney to handle the case, they will likely ask to see a copy of the police report, and it will be useful to them as they analyze your case.

Kansas City Car Accident Attorney

If you were injured in an accident, you will want to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney as early as possible for assistance. Engaging an experienced attorney will help you to document and gather evidence to give to the insurance company to prove the other party’s negligence. The experienced counsel of Peterson & Associates will guide you every step of the way through this process until you get the compensation you deserve.

If you have been involved in a car accident, the personal injury attorneys at Peterson & Associates, P.C. are standing by to help. Contact Peterson and Associates P.C. by calling (816) 578-0580 to talk to a Kansas City car accident attorney for a free consultation and to learn about your legal rights and options.