What Should You Do If You Are In A Car Wreck And The Police Refuse to Write An Accident Report?
The Chattanooga Police Department announced in December that they would no longer come to the scene of a car collision and investigate. Outrageous.
If the police do not write a report or don’t even come to the scene of the accident, what should you do? Can you get the at-fault driver’s insurance to pay for your damages without a report? Can you get your uninsured motorist insurance to pay for your damages without a report?
First, let’s talk about what you should do if the police fail to come to the accident scene and “bear witness” to the accident scene. Obviously, you should document the accident as much as possible so the at-fault driver or his or her insurance company cannot claim the accident never happened. You should:
- DO NOT MOVE YOUR VEHICLE UNTIL YOU HAVE TAKEN PICTURES OF BOTH VEHICLES. If the other driver wants to move his or her vehicle, do your best to insist that he or she not move their vehicle until you have taken pictures of the position of the vehicle.
- Whether or not the other driver moves his or her vehicle, get as many pictures of your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle as possible, especially where the damage is on all the collision vehicles.
- Call 911 whether the police come or not. This way, there will at least be a recording of your call. Even if you are not hurting (you probably will be hurt by the next day), report to the 911 operator that yes, you sustained injuries in the collision. This could be valuable later on if you find you need to pursue a bodily injury claim from the other driver or your own insurance company.
- After calling 911, insist that the other driver give you their name, address, telephone number, insurance company, and insurance policy number. This is not an optional request. This is state law and tell them so. If they refuse, tell the non-cooperating driver that you intend to call the police again and report their belligerent, illegal behavior. Don’t put up with that nonsense. Of course, it goes without saying, that if you feel you are in an unsafe situation, get to the nearest safe place, even if you need to leave the scene, and report the other driver to the police.
- Go online to the Tennessee Department of Safety (if it’s a Tennessee wreck) and complete the accident reporting form. If your wreck occurred in Tennessee, completing this form is not optional for you or the negligent driver that caused the accident. In this new era, where the police are refusing to do their job, this report is even more important in helping you get a recovery from the at-fault or your own insurance company. Georgia’s law does not require you to fill out an accident reporting form. However, it is a good idea to download and keep a copy of the Georgia SR-13 form .If the local Georgia police don’t respond to your accident, this form will ensure that you have all the information you need to file an insurance claim.
- Prepare an affidavit describing how the collision occurred to send to both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your insurance company. An affidavit is a formal sworn statement before a notary public. You must appear in person before the notary and the notary signs off your sworn statement. If you don’t know a notary public you can call us, at Dennis and King, 423-892-5533, or drop by our office at the address below and we will be happy to sign off on your affidavit for free, even if you don’t hire us. (We will also give you a free copy of our book about what to do after a car accident and plenty of free chocolate.) A sample affidavit is at the end of this post. All you have to do is fill in the blanks. If you need help, drop by our office and we will help you—even if you don’t hire us.
- Send all your photos, other driver’s contact information, your report to the Tennessee Department of Safety, and your affidavit to your insurance company. Then contact the other driver’s insurance company and open up a claim. Once you have a claim number send all your documentation to the other driver’s insurance company.
BE AWARE: IF THE OTHER DRIVER DOES NOT HAVE CAR INSURANCE (ABOUT 40% OF THE DRIVERS IN HAMILTON COUNTY DON’T), YOU WILL NEED TO FILE YOUR CLAIM ON YOUR UNINSURED MOTORIST INSURANCE. THIS CAN BE A PROBLEM. MANY INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL DENY YOUR UNISNURED MOTORIST CLAIM WITHOUT A POLICE REPORT. IF THIS HAPPENS TO YOU, GIVE US A CALL at 423-892-5533. WE CAN USUALLY PERSUADE YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY TO COVER YOUR CLAIM
Dennis and King are a law firm that is interest in educating you so you can make the best legal decision for yourself and your family. If you have been in a Chattanooga car accident or a car collision anywhere in Georgia or Tennessee, call us at 423-892-5533 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.