Do You Need a Police Report to Prove Fault in a Car Accident?

A police report is not needed to prove fault or liability in a car accident, but having one can make it easier and will avoid disputes over liability. After a car accident, insurance companies often want to know who is the at-fault driver because it determines whose insurance is responsible for covering damage to the vehicle and medical costs.

According to RCW 46.52.070, “Any police officer of the state of Washington or of any county, city, town, or other political subdivision, present at the scene of any accident or in possession of any facts concerning any accident whether by way of official investigation or otherwise shall make report thereof in the same manner as required of the parties to such accident and as fully as the facts in his or her possession concerning such accident will permit.”  In addition, law enforcement shall report the when the collision occurred and the identity of the operators, and the reason or reasons that caused the collision.

If a report is not made at the time of the collision, RCW 46.52.030 allows the driver of any vehicle involved in a collision involving death, injury, or damage to property (greater than $1,000.00) to make a written report of such accident to law enforcement in the jurisdiction of the collision.

Police reports can provide helpful evidence for you and your attorney to prove fault early in the case. An early determination of the at-fault driver will help resolve expenses for medical care, rental vehicle, and vehicle repairs.

Police reports can also include the officer’s opinion of how the accident occurred, and whether a driver was issued a ticket at the accident scene. All of these details can be used by insurance companies when determining fault. This will be very useful if trial is necessary to prove damages.

Can you prove fault without a police report?

Fault has to be determined without a police report in many accident claims. Instead, insurance companies gather information and evidence from all parties and any available witnesses.

Motorists are wise to gather their own evidence after an accident by taking photos and/or video, and getting the contact information of the other drivers and witnesses, in addition to taking other steps to protect their claim, like contacting experienced injury attorneys.

Experienced injury attorneys can be very helpful to injured drivers during this process, including attending meetings where the insurance company wants the injured driver to make a recorded statement.

Is there a convenient way to collect and document collision information?

The Althauser Rayan Abbarno injury attorney created a glove box collision information card that can help you collect data from a collision. To request your free card or schedule a free consultation with an Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorney, call (360) 736-1301 or E-mail [email protected]

Are injury consultations with Althauser Rayan Abbarno free?

For more than 75 years, Althauser Rayan Abbarno attorneys have been offering free injury consultations to drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists injured due to the negligence of others. For a free consultation in Centralia or Olympia, call (360) 736-1301.