How Do I Report an Accident Without Police Present?
Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Nov 13, 2014 in Car Accident News
In Las Vegas, Metro Police are not required to respond to the scene of an accident unless there is a resulting serious or life-threatening injury.
Upon hearing that a collision does not require an ambulance, police dispatchers may tell officers not to show up to an auto accident. Even further, police that do respond may leave when they discover an ambulance is not required for any involved parties.
No Official Report
The worst outcome of this possibility is that a neutral third party will not be on the scene to file an accident report. As far as the courts or insurance companies are concerned, any personal account of events can potentially be disputed as hearsay and declared null and void if not properly documented.
Police officers are also typically the individual that determines fault in an accident. They weigh the statements made by any involved parties along with evidence at the scene, such as distinct skid marks. This information allows them to objectively come to conclusions as to who should receive a citation and thus whose insurance policy should take effect to cover the damage incurred from the accident.
How Can I Make a Convincing Report of My Own?
Official accident reports must be filed with the Nevada DMV within ten days of the incident occurring. If a police officer happened to perform an investigation of the scene upon arrival, then your own version of events may be inadmissible.
Supplementing the information on the form with your own evidence could prove advantageous in most instances. Any additional information you could provide can potentially help determine liability or fault in the event that a dispute or conflicting report arises.
To compensate for the lack of a police authority's report, obtain the following information:
Any involved parties' names and addresses
Detailed vehicle information including make, model, year, and condition prior to the incident
The involved parties' insurance information including all relevant policies
Statements made by any involved parties
Statements made by witnesses and their contact information
Documenting all of these aspects is extremely important. If you do not feel adept at writing all the information down, then you can use a recording device such as a cell phone to permanently store any statements made on video, as well as photograph the information provided for accuracy.
Photograph the Scene
In addition to obtaining information and any statements, you should also document the scene of the accident to provide objective evidence to any courts or involved insurance policies.
Use a camera or cellular device that takes clear photos to document the following:
Pictures of any damage to both vehicles from multiple angles
Pictures of the scene of the accident including damage to public or private property
Relevant evidence on the scene such as tire marks
A clear overview of the intersection or roadway in which the accident took place
Conduct at the Scene
It is extremely important to remain calm and cordial with any involved parties while at the scene of the accident. Do not attempt to assign blame to any involved parties. Do not assume fault either; any verbal statements made by you such as an apology for a negligent act can be potentially admitted as evidence.
Your conduct at the scene has the capability to affect how the insurance company or court system determines the outcome of a dispute. For instance, using profanity or angrily waving arms can be used to argue that you were behaving defensively or irrationally, and could diminish the reliability of your account of events in the court's eyes. This applies especially if witnesses can attest to your behavior.
Seek Medical Attention for Any Injuries as Soon as Possible
Report to your physician as soon as possible to treat any injuries. Maintain a detailed record of any diagnoses or medical expenses.
Even if you aren't sure if the injury was a direct result of the collision, diligently keep track of any factors that could be considered relevant down the road. Being overly cautious has more benefit than being unable to produce documentation when required.