In short, you can file a car accident claim without a police report. In minor cases, where no one suffered injuries and only minimal property damage, contacting the police might not be necessary. However, more often than not, it is beneficial to your claim. Without a police report, you rely on other sources of evidence to prove your negligence claim, and a car accident attorney can help you build your case to fight for a fair settlement.
What Evidence Can You Use in the Absence of a Police Report After a Car Accident in Massachusetts?
A police report is undeniably a valuable source of evidence when filing a car accident claim. However, in its absence, you can gather supportive proof to document how the accident occurred and who is liable for damages. Some information you can collect independently should establish the following:
- When the accident occurred, including location, date, and time
- Details about all vehicles involved
- The road conditions and weather during the time of the accident
Most of this information can come from steps you took at the scene and in the days following the accident. A police report provides professional documentation of the accident, but the evidence you gather is just as substantial.
Things You Can Do To Protect Your Claim
Auto accidents are inherently jarring. The priority in the immediate aftermath is to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone involved. However, if you had the opportunity, some of the steps you take in the minutes, days and weeks following the crash can significantly impact your ability to build a strong case without a police report. Consider some things you should do in the wake of a car crash.
Conduct Your Own Documentation of the Scene
When the police arrive at the scene of an accident, they take photographs, interview eyewitnesses, get statements from drivers and make notes about their assessment of the accident. You can do much of that on your own as well. Consider some ways to gather evidence at the scene:
- Take photographs of everything, including visible injuries on your body, damage to the vehicles and the surrounding area
- Record a video of the location and narrate how the accident happened
- Collect contact information from any eyewitnesses
- Get the name, phone number, email address, and insurance information from the other driver
You can provide all this information to a car accident attorney to start building your negligence claim and prove the losses you suffered. Remember, identifying the time, date and location is helpful, and photographs and videos have time and location stamps.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately
A common mistake auto accident victims make is avoiding the doctor for minor injuries. Even if you feel fine, seek a complete medical evaluation from a qualified doctor. Ideally, you would go to the emergency room at the nearest hospital or to an urgent care clinic where doctors treat auto accident victims regularly. However, you can also schedule an appointment with your primary care physician as long as you get an examination as close to the time of the accident as possible.
If you suffered injuries resulting in missed work or emotional distress, your medical records are a significant source of evidence. Doctors who treat car accident victims also know how to document the cause of your injuries for legal purposes. If your concern is the cost of medical care, you can include the cost of all necessary treatment and testing in your claim for damages.
Document Your Experience
Car accidents can be traumatizing, especially if you suffer injuries that change how you live your life. Keep a post-accident journal and write down your daily struggles with the physical and psychological impact of the accident. Your attorney will use that to help prove some non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress. Additionally, your friends and family can offer statements testifying to any changes in the quality of your life since the accident.
Avoid Talking About the Accident When Possible
A natural reaction to a car crash is to talk. You may be angry, frustrated or in shock and want to discuss what happened. To protect your claim, the best option is to avoid discussing it with anyone other than your attorney, especially when you do not have a police report containing your official statement. Limit your interaction with the other driver to asking for their contact information and allow an attorney to speak to the insurance company.
When you file a claim, the insurer will launch an investigation into the accident. Remember, it is in the company’s best interest to poke holes in your story. Therefore, they may check your social media page to see if you say anything about the accident. You can help your case by setting everything to private and avoiding social media entirely until the case concludes.
How Might Not Having a Police Report Affect Your Claim?
Filing a fault-based auto accident claim without a police report can make it more challenging to prove negligence, but it is not impossible. Moreover, you may not even need to prove negligence because Massachusetts is a no-fault auto insurance state.
Massachusetts No-Fault System
Most states follow a fault-based system in handling personal injury cases involving car accidents. However, Massachusetts is one of only a handful with a no-fault system. Therefore, Boston drivers must have personal injury protection coverage as part of their state-mandated insurance. PIP covers:
- Up to 75% of your lost wages
- All necessary medical expenses related to the accident
- Required replacement services, such as household help, needed during your recovery
The state allows you to bypass this system and file a fault-based claim or lawsuit if your injuries accumulated more than $2,000 in medical expenses, resulted in permanent disfigurement, loss of sight or hearing or caused broken bones.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer Help You Build a Case Without a Police Report?
Since building a case without a police report can be slightly more challenging and take a little longer than average, it helps to have a car accident lawyer on your side. Consider the advantages:
- They handle negotiations and communication with the insurance company.
- They investigate your claim to find evidence of negligence.
- They identify and value your damages to ensure adequate compensation for your losses.
- They understand the nuances of personal injury law in Massachusetts and work with car accident victims almost daily.
- They prepare your case for trial should the insurer refuse to offer a fair settlement.
Most car accident lawyers work on contingency, meaning they do not require an upfront payment. Instead, they accept clients with the understanding that they will not recover their legal fees unless they win your case. Therefore, you have nothing to lose.
When Should You Schedule Your Free Consultation With an Experienced Attorney?
Victims of driving negligence should not have to face the financial consequences of a car accident alone, especially while healing from physical and emotional trauma. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we help auto accident victims recover the damages they need to restore what they unfairly lost. Additionally, we understand the financial burdens you face, so the first element of the Stone Cold Guarantee ensures you pay nothing unless secure payment for you. Contact Jason Stone Injury Lawyers at (800) 577-5188 to schedule your free consultation today. There’s No Obligation, Just Information (R).