If you get involved in a car accident in Missouri, there are certain steps that you need to take and things that you need to do to protect your rights. One of these tasks is reporting the car accident to law enforcement, depending on the circumstances. Understanding the crash report – including how it could help you as an injured accident victim – is an important part of the recovery process.
When Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Missouri?
Each state has different rules for when a driver is legally required to report a car accident to law enforcement. In Missouri, drivers must report any car accidents that involve a death, personal injury, or property damage of $500 and above. Reporting a car accident means notifying local law enforcement as soon as possible, typically by calling 911 from the scene of the crash. Drivers are obligated to render aid to anyone who is injured and remain at the scene until police officers arrive.
Failing to report a serious car accident in Missouri could lead to fines and even criminal charges. If you flee the scene of a car accident without stopping or notifying the police, this could be the crime of a hit-and-run. If someone was in need of medical assistance and you failed to render aid, this crime could be charged as a felony in Missouri. Fulfill your legal obligations as a driver by stopping as close to the scene of the accident as possible and calling 911 without delay to request a car accident report.
What Information Goes on a Car Accident Report?
When the police are notified of a car accident in Missouri, they will send an officer to the scene to conduct an investigation and fill out a long-form accident report. The accident report will contain basic information about the car accident, including:
- The names and addresses of both drivers
- The time, date and location of the crash
- A description of all vehicles involved
- The names of any passengers or witnesses
- Descriptions of any injuries
- A diagram of the collision
- Official photos taken at the scene
- Accident reconstruction
- What the officer believes caused the crash
- The weather and road conditions
- Any other relevant information
Make sure your side of the story gets put on the accident report. Do not admit fault for the car accident, however, or answer questions about your injuries until you’ve seen a doctor. Write down the name of the responding officer and your police report number before you leave the scene.
How Do You Obtain a Copy of Your Car Accident Report in Missouri?
The police officer who filled out the accident report is required to submit it to the police department within 10 days. If the police did not come to the accident scene for a minor crash, you can still submit a report to the Missouri State Highway Patrol within 30 days. You should obtain a copy of your police accident report for the car insurance claims process. The accident report will contain key information and facts about the crash that the insurer can use to process your claim.
To obtain a copy of your police report, contact the State Highway Patrol with your police report number about 10 days after your crash. You will be asked to mail in the Request for Traffic Crash Report Form and include a check or money order to pay for the fee. Once the department receives your request, you will be mailed a copy of your accident report. You can use this report to help you with a car insurance claim.
What Should You Say to an Insurance Adjuster?
When you call an insurance company to file a car accident claim in Missouri, be careful what you say to the insurance claims adjuster. Give the company your police report number and answer any questions asked about the accident. Keep your answers short and simple, however, and don’t admit fault for the car accident. This can help prevent a car insurance company from taking advantage of you. When in doubt, call a Kansas City car accident lawyer to take over the insurance claims process for you.