Car accidents happen out of the blue and can turn your life upside down in a matter of seconds. While you can’t always prevent car accidents, you can make sure you’re prepared for one in case the worst does happen. In this article, our auto accident lawyer will share everything you need to know about reporting a collision in Lafayette, LA.
Before we get into everything that can go wrong if you fail to report an auto collision, let’s take a look at the many benefits of filing a police report right away.
Benefits of Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident
Filing a police report is one of the most important things you can do after a car accident, even before hiring an auto accident lawyer. Based on years of experience, our personal injury law firm recommends reporting even minor car accidents.
Why is it so important to report a car accident right away?
To Protect Yourself
A police report is an unbiased third-party account of the circumstances of the accident. That means it can offer quite a bit of protection against:
- The other driver changing the narrative
- Insurance company tactics to try to shift blame and avoid paying
The more information you have about the accident from third-parties such as the police department and eyewitnesses, the stronger your case will be.
Even if the accident seems like a cut-and-dried situation in your opinion, you’ll need proof if you want your version of events to hold up in court or during insurance disputes.
To Make Sure Everyone’s Safe
You can’t always tell if someone’s injured immediately following a car accident, and even minor collisions can cause injuries. Police officers deal with car accidents on a regular basis, so they’re better equipped to verify that everyone’s okay. They’ll be able to contact emergency services if needed and will include any readily apparent injuries in the report.
Reporting an Accident is Required by Law in Many States
Every state requires you to report accidents that result in injury or death, but for other, more minor incidents, reporting requirements vary by state.
Car issues or injuries can sometimes take a few days to show up, so even if you feel fine following a collision, it’s a good idea to cover yourself by reporting minor accidents just in case.
Do I need to File a Police Report in Louisiana?
Louisiana state law requires drivers to file a police report for automotive accidents that result in any of the following
- Over $500 in property damage
Additionally, drivers must send a written statement to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections within 24 hours of the accident if the accident causes:
- Over $100 in property damage
Even if you’re not aware of a car accident injury or property damage, it’s a good idea to file a report just in case something becomes apparent after the fact.
The Consequences of Not Reporting an Accident in Louisiana
While the desire to avoid the hassle of reporting a car accident is understandable, failing to report a wreck can have serious consequences.
Lack of Evidence
Suppose a car accident wasn’t your fault, but the other driver or insurance company is now trying to blame you. Or suppose you were at fault and caused little to no damage, but the other driver is now claiming huge medical or car repair expenses.
Without a police report detailing the accident, it will be your word against the other driver’s, meaning you might see a bad outcome even if you’re in the right.
Hit and Run Accusations
Failing to stop and exchange information after a car accident is considered a hit and run in Louisiana, which can lead to hundreds of dollars in fines.
If you stop after an accident and agree with the other driver not to exchange information or call the police, they may turn around and accuse you of leaving the scene. Getting a police report is an easy way to avoid scenarios like this.
Lack of Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies do what they can to avoid handing out money. Evidence like a police report can be instrumental in settling insurance disputes quickly and proving your version of events.
Have More Questions for an Auto Accident Attorney?
Are you suffering from a car accident injury? Our personal injury law firm in Lafayette, LA, can help. Fill out a contact form to schedule your free case evaluation, and we’ll put you in touch with an experienced auto accident lawyer right away.