Being involved in an accident can cause heightened stress levels and cause people to panic. During such an event, one may forget to obtain all information at the scene of the accident, including obtaining or filing a police report. Sometimes, people may think it is not necessary to file or obtain a police report because the accident may not seem as severe. However, regardless of the severity, everyone involved in an accident should obtain a copy of the police report.
The police report can help when filing an insurance claim and also show which parties were at fault. Moreover, in Tennessee, if a police report is not filed, drivers can risk having their licenses suspended. The best proof that a police report was filed is to obtain it at the scene.
However, if the report was not obtained at the scene, there are ways to retrieve it. If you are worried about the process, the personal injury attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi can help collect any information after a car accident.
How do You Obtain a Police Report After the Accident?
Drivers can go to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to purchase a crash report online for $10.00. In order to do this, drivers will need last names, reporting agency, license number, date of the accident, and at least the license plate number, vehicle identification number, or report tracking number.
If the reporting or responding agency was the Tennessee Highway Patrol, then reports can be obtained for $4.00 directly from the Tennessee Highways Patrol District Office. The reports at the Tennessee Highway Patrol office will typically be ready 5-7 days after an accident has been reported. The request can be made through the mail or in person.
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How do You File a Police Report at the Scene of an Accident?
In some states, accidents must always be reported to the police. Calling the police and allowing them to decide whether to arrive satisfies your commitment to at the very least tell them that an accident occurred, even if there is no legal requirement to do so. There are regulations in some states that mandate calling the police if an accident causes a particular level of damage.
A driver is required by Tennessee law to notify the appropriate authorities of any collision that causes property damage of more than $50.00. Officers will assist the affected drivers while also compiling an accident record that will be very helpful to the parties and their separate insurance companies in resolving any potential claims.
Are There Exceptions to Filing a Police Report After an Accident?
Tennessee does require the police to be contacted and a report filed for accidents totaling over $50.00 in damages. However, there are a few exceptions to this requirement. If there is extreme or hazardous weather, drivers are not required to contact the police or file a report at the scene. The Tennessee inclement weather policy gives drivers five days to contact the police to submit a Non-Investigated Crash Report.
Furthermore, if an accident occurs on private property, most of the time, even if police are contacted, they may decline to appear. Even if they do appear, they will likely refrain from filing a police report after the accident.
Additionally, if the accident does not cause any injury and only minor property damage that neither party intends to submit to the insurance company, then the police do not need to be called, and a police report does not need to be filed.
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Can You File a Police Report Days or Weeks After an Accident?
If the police did not already generate a report at the scene of the accident, one must typically be filed within a day if the automobile accident resulted in injuries or serious property damage. The time it takes for drivers to report an accident to their state’s DMV may increase. A driver’s license suspension or worse may result from failing to submit these documents on time.
Drivers do not need to file their own reports if a police officer responds to the collision and documents the event. Drivers might still be required to report accidents, though. Drivers in Tennessee normally have five days to report an accident after it occurs. Additionally, those involved in an accident must file a report with the Department of Safety no more than 20 days after the accident to avoid any repercussions.
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Can You Obtain a Police Report at the Scene of the Accident?
It is becoming common practice for police not to provide the reports at the scene but rather to provide drivers with contact information of where to obtain the report.
Sometimes, if drivers specifically request it, a police officer will give a copy of the police report at the scene or allow a picture of the report to be taken for the driver’s records. However, this is not always sufficient for insurance companies or when filing other claims. To obtain the official copy of a police report in Tennessee drivers will have to do so online or through the mail.
Crash Report vs. Police Report
An accident report is not the same as a police report.
Law enforcement frequently creates a police report at the scene of the collision. The driver may be required by law to notify the police of the accident so that an officer can compile a police report if one is not already in progress at the scene.
Instead of police enforcement, a crash report is sent to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Drivers may frequently find the necessary form online. They give it back to the DMV after filling it out with the accident information.
Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi PLC
For victims of auto accidents in Memphis, our team of lawyers at Gatti, Letner, Bienvenu & Montesi provides complete legal assistance to all clients. We make it simple for you to speak with a Memphis auto accident attorney who can fight for your rights and win your case. Please get in touch with us by phone or email if you have any questions or request a free case evaluation.
Call or text (901) 526-2126 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form