Can You Sue for a Car Accident if There is No Police Report in Pennsylvania?
If you were the victim in a serious car accident, you want as much evidence as possible to prove your case and receive compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. A police report can be valuable evidence when you are trying to prove fault in a car accident case. However, the lack of a police report does not diminish the validity of your claim. If you or a family member was injured in a serious car accident, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer. The lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm are experienced in handling complex car accident claims, and we are prepared to represent you. Our Lehigh County car accident lawyers discuss how you can still sue for a car accident if there is no police report.
Do You Need a Police Report to File a Car Accident Lawsuit in PA?
After being involved in a car accident, there are a couple of actions you should take for your safety and to preserve evidence for your car accident lawsuit. One of the first actions you should take is ensuring the safety of all people involved in the accident, then call emergency services if you or someone else is injured.
At this point, it would also be wise to call law enforcement to the scene as well. Police reports are a good source of evidence because police officers can conduct an investigation and provide an impartial account of how the accident occurred. Police officers may even help you recover and document information from an at-fault driver or any available witnesses. While police reports are not typically admissible in court, they can be useful for other things, like organizing your case. However, if for some reason law enforcement is not called to the scene, you can still document the details of the accident yourself.
One of the first things you should do after an accident is request information from the at-fault driver. This information should include the at-fault driver’s insurance policy info, driver’s license and registration info, license plate number, and address. This is important to ensure you, or your insurance carrier, can contact the at-fault driver or their insurance company. You should also photograph the damage to all vehicles involved and any other property damaged during the accident. It is also important to document any adverse weather or lighting conditions that may have contributed to the accident.
Another important task is gathering information from any witnesses willing to submit a statement. Be sure to collect contact information for all witnesses if you later wish to file a car accident claim and use witness testimony.
A police report will often contain much of this information, but the police report is not required to bring your case to court. If you were involved in an accident involving personal injury, you must report it to the police – so a police report should be created. However, if the report is lost or you are unable to obtain a copy, the information you collect can be used instead of the police report. Since the police report is not admissible as evidence in court, having your own information about the crash is essential, with or without a report.
When to File Your Car Accident Lawsuit
If you decide to file a car accident lawsuit after being injured in a crash, you should attempt to file your case as soon as possible. Filing your injury case early has a number of benefits, one of which is avoiding the statute of limitations deadline.
The statute of limitations determines the amount of time that an individual has to file a particular type of lawsuit. For example, depending on the state, a lawsuit for medical malpractice may have a different deadline than a lawsuit for a brain injury sustained in a vehicle collision. Car accident cases typically fall under the umbrella of “personal injury cases” or possibly wrongful death lawsuits if someone was killed in the crash.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years from the date of the accident. This means you have two years after the crash to file your claim or risk having the court bar your case. Although, there may be options available to you to delay the filing date that you should discuss with an experienced attorney.
Additionally, filing your case early may help you preserve evidence in anticipation of your lawsuit. If you take too long to file your case, some evidence you need to win your case may be destroyed or end up missing. Another possible side effect of filing too late is the memory of your witnesses becoming unreliable. Witnesses that cannot recall crucial details of your case will not help you during the trial.
Filing your case early also means that you will receive your compensation sooner if you win your case. This will help if your injuries affected your ability to work or pay your bills.
Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys are Here for You
If you or a family member was the victim of a car accident, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney today. If you were not able to secure a police report to help with your car accident claim, the attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm could help you gather evidence to support your lawsuit. To schedule a free legal consultation, call us at (215) 709-6940.