How Long After a Car Accident Can I File a Police Report in WA?

How Long After a Car Accident Can I File a Police Report in WA?The aftermath of any accident is chaotic, especially if you or a loved one suffered injuries. Even a minor fender-bender in a parking lot is distressing, as it typically means an insurance claim and a vehicle that’s unavailable for use while under repair. In the midst of the confusion in the hours and days after a car accident, many car accident victims in Washington suddenly realize they aren’t certain if or when the law requires them to report the accident to the police. How long does a car accident victim have to file a police report after an accident?

Were the Police Called to the Scene of Your Car Accident?

In a minor collision with minimal damage and no injuries, Washington drivers do not have to call the police to the scene. Instead, they may file a report online through Washington State Patrol’s website. Accident victims must report a car crash within four days of the accident. Then, the driver may request a copy of the report to give to their insurance company. Both drivers in a collision must report the accident to the police within the four-day time limit. Never assume that the other driver reported it so you don’t have to.

In an accident with a parked car and no driver available, the at-fault driver must leave their contact and insurance information on the vehicle and then file an accident report within four days of the incident.

In an accident with property damage that appears to be $1,000 or more in repair costs, or an accident with any injuries, Washington law requires drivers to call the police to the scene. If the police come to the scene of the accident they automatically make out the police report and file it so the drivers don’t have to do so themselves. Involved drivers may then request a copy of the report online. Police accident reports are typically available two to four weeks after the accident.

What If I Miss the Four-Day Deadline to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

If a driver who was involved in a car accident fails to file the report within four days after the accident, they could face penalties and the insurance company of the at-fault party may deny a compensation claim.

Filing a police report after a car accident within the four-day time limit is critical for many reasons. Not only does it expedite a compensation claim for damages, but it also provides important information for local law enforcement, road maintenance agencies, and road planning departments so they can identify problem areas and address issues that cause repeated accidents.

What Information Is on A Police Report After a Car Accident?

When the victim of a minor car accident with no injuries and under $1,000 in damages files a car accident report, they must include the following information:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • Contact information of all involved drivers
  • Insurance information
  • Vehicle registration number
  • A description of what occurred
  • Whether or not there were injuries
  • The approximate amount of property damage

Reports made out by police officers responding to the scene of an accident include more detailed information about the cause of the accident, sometimes including driver statements and eyewitness contact information. Drivers may dispute portions of the report or the entire police report by contacting the Washington State Patrol in person, by phone, or by email. If you suffering from a severe injury after a car accident in Washington, speak with an experienced car accident lawyer in Everett for legal guidance and support.