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What Happens When You File A Police Report After An Accident

February 3, 2022

If you or somebody you love sustains an injury in an accident in Arizona, it is important for you to report the accident to police officers as soon as possible. However, there are various reasons why individuals may forego calling the police after an accident occurs. Here, our Phoenix car accident lawyers want to discuss the importance of filing a police report after an Arizona vehicle accident occurs. These reports are going to be the key piece of evidence that insurance carriers need to officially process your claim.

Filing a police report after a car accident

Do You Have to Report the Crash to the Police?

When we look at Arizona Statutes § 28-667, we can see that law enforcement officials are required to fill out a written accident report if any of the following occurs in an accident in this state:

  • An injury
  • A death
  • Property damage exceeding $1,000
  • The issuance of any citation

If any of those conditions occur as a result of a vehicle accident, local law enforcement or Arizona Highway Patrol will fill out a written report, typically within 24 hours after the crash occurs. All drivers are responsible for remaining at the scene of the accident to provide the police officer with as much information as possible. The police report will typically contain the following information:

  • The date and time the accident occurred
  • Information identifying the location of the incident
  • Identifying information of all parties involved, such as drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses
    • Name and age
    • Sex
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Vehicle ownership and registration proof
    • Insurance information
  • A brief narrative of the facts of the case, including a diagram that draws out the basic collision scenario

After the Report Gets Filed

After an accident report gets filed, individuals involved will typically not be able to get their hands on the final report for a few days or a week after the incident. However, we encourage you to ask the responding law enforcement officer how to officially obtain the incident report. The process may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Even before you are able to obtain the police report, you need to make sure that your insurance carrier knows about the collision. Auto insurance carriers in Arizona have stringent reporting deadlines, typically within a few days after the incident occurs. You can make your initial report on the phone, online, or through a phone app without having the accident report.

You will need the accident report in order to proceed forward with your insurance claim. One of the first documents that your insurance carrier or the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier is going to ask for is the police report. Without this report, successfully recovering compensation from the insurance carrier is going to be much more challenging.

Do You Need an Attorney to Help With the Police Report?

You will not necessarily need an attorney in order to obtain your police report. However, we strongly encourage you to speak to a skilled personal injury lawyer who has experience handling vehicle accident claims. When you have an attorney by your side, you will have an advocate who can use their resources to investigate the facts of the crash, determine liability, and handle all communication with other parties on your behalf. An attorney can obtain the police report and all other documentation necessary for your insurance claim to be processed as smoothly as possible.

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