When is a Car Accident Report Filed in Virginia and Can a Missing Report Affect My Car Accident Claim?
If you’ve been involved in a car accident recently, you understand the importance of the car accident report that is usually filed by the police. But, when is a police crash report filed in Virginia? If there is no police report, will that affect my auto accident claim?
Car Accident Report Filed By Law Enforcement
In Virginia, a law enforcement officer is required to file a police crash report if:
there is injury or death involved in the accident
there appears to be property damage of $1,500.00 or more
In this video, Mike Ritchie discusses auto accident reports in Virginia. Check it out here:
Police Crash Report: What Is a Non-Reportable Accident in Virginia?
Virginia law provides that a non-reportable accident is one that:
results in minor property damage, that is cosmetic rather than structural
did not cause physical injuries to the drivers or passengers
occurs on private property, such as parking lots
In cases of non-reportable crashes, the parties to the crash usually exchange insurance information and a police crash report doesn’t get filed. An exchange of information may include providing information such as contact information and vehicle information for both parties but rarely includes giving a driver’s license number. Often, in those instances, the insurance companies are left to battle it out and decide who was responsible for causing the accident.
Police Report: When To Report A Car Accident In Virginia?
If you’ve been in an accident, it’s always recommended that you call the police and ask that they come to the scene of the accident.
But, if you’ve been in an accident and law enforcement didn’t come to the scene, you are responsible for reporting the accident as soon as you are able. It’s also important that you report the accident to your insurance company. BUT, BE AWARE, filing a police accident report is not the same as filing an insurance claim. You have to do both — report the accident to the police and call your insurance company.
Is a Crash Report Important to My Car Accident Claim?
While police accident reports are not necessarily required to have a successful auto accident claim, they can provide important evidence about the extent of the impact as well as who caused the collision. Additionally, a crash diagram is often a part of a crash report and offers a visual perspective of how the accident occurred.
Understanding the extent of the impact or how hard someone was hit, often helps in understanding how and why injuries occurred from the accident. Also, determining who was at fault after a crash is often easier if there is a police report.
How Do I Get My Car Accident Report?
The first step in getting police reports is to identify which law enforcement agency came to the scene of your accident. The answer to this question usually depends on where the crash occurred. A crash occurring in a small town or city would likely be worked by the town or city police officer. On the other hand, if the accident happened in a more rural area or on an interstate, then the Virginia State Police may have had jurisdiction. If it’s a local agency or city police department, you’ll want to call the customer records work center within that department and ask for the process to obtain crash reports. You may have to pay a nominal fee to have the accident report copied for you.
If the officer who came to the accident scene was Virginia State Police Trooper, you’ll need to request the crash report (and other DMV records) from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles by completing an information request form. You can submit your written request to the Department of Motor Vehicles at the address below:
Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, P.O. Box 27412, Richmond, VA 23269-0001
Additionally, you may also be able to obtain a copy of the crash report from either your own insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company.
Talk To An Experienced Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
Your team of lawyers at the Ritchie Law Firm has more than 150 years of combined experience helping our clients make the best decisions for their car accident cases. But, don’t take our word for it, check out our past Case Results here.
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Ritchie Law Firm is a personal injury law firm devoted to helping individuals who have suffered serious and catastrophic injuries or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.
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