Personal Injury Lawyer Wilmington NC | Flexner Houser Injury Law

What to Do if Police Don’t Show Up After a Car Accident (Can You Be Sued Without a Report?)

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand steps to take when police don’t respond to an accident scene.
  • Learn about filing a police report and its significance.
  • Gain insight into legal implications of accidents without police reports.


Car accidents, regardless of their severity, can be disorienting and stressful. One of the first steps usually recommended is to contact the police and file a report.

However, what happens when police never show up at the accident scene? This scenario, though less common, raises several concerns and questions about the next steps, especially regarding legal and insurance implications.

In this article, we explore the actions you should take if you find yourself in such a situation and the potential consequences of not having a police report.

What Should I Do if the Police Don’t Come to the Scene?

1. Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

The initial response to any car accident is to remain calm. Assess the situation for any immediate dangers and ensure the safety of all parties involved.

2. Ensure Everyone’s Safety and Call for Medical Attention if Needed

Safety is paramount. If there are any injuries, your first step should be to call for medical help. Even if injuries seem minor, it’s crucial to get them checked.

3. Gather Evidence at the Scene

In the absence of police, it becomes your responsibility to collect evidence.

This includes:

  • Taking photos and videos: Document the damage to all vehicles, the accident scene, and any relevant road signs or signals.
  • Collecting witness statements: If there are any bystanders who witnessed the accident, get their contact information and statements.
  • Exchanging insurance information: Make sure to exchange details with the other driver(s) involved in the accident.

4. Contact Your Insurance Company as Soon as Possible

Inform your insurance company about the accident at the earliest. This step is crucial for the claims process.

5. File a Police Report Yourself

If the police do not arrive at the scene, you should file a report yourself. This can be done at the nearest police station. Bring all the evidence you’ve collected to support your report.

Do I Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

Laws vary by state, but generally, you are required to file a police report if:

  • There are injuries or fatalities.
  • The damage exceeds a certain amount, usually around $500.
  • A hit-and-run occurs.

Why Would Law Enforcement Ignore My Request to Come to the Scene?

There could be several reasons why police might not respond to a call from an accident scene:

  • Limited resources and high call volume: In some cases, police might prioritize more urgent calls.
  • Accident deemed minor or non-urgent: If there are no injuries and only minor damage, police might not consider it necessary to attend the scene.
  • Poor weather conditions or other emergencies: Sometimes, external factors might prevent police from reaching the accident location.

Should I Call the Police After a Traffic Accident?

Yes, it is always advisable to call the police after a car accident, regardless of its severity. A police report serves as an official record of the incident and can be crucial for:

  • Insurance claims: Many insurance companies require a police report to process claims.
  • Legal purposes: In case of disputes or legal action, a police report provides an objective account of the incident.

Can I Report an Accident to Police After the Fact?

You can, and should, report an accident to the police after the fact if they did not attend the scene. However, it’s best to do this as soon as possible. Delaying the report can make it more difficult to gather accurate evidence.

This table highlights the importance of timely reporting:



Accurate Evidence Collection

Delay can lead to loss of crucial evidence

Prompt Insurance Processing

Helps in swift claim processing

Legal Clarity

Provides a clear record in case of disputes

Need Immediate Attention?

In case of emergencies, such as injuries or hazards at the accident scene:

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Do not attempt to handle serious injuries yourself.

Do You Have Questions?

When it comes to car accidents and police reports, many people have questions about the right course of action.

Let’s address some common concerns:

1. What Information Should Be Included in a Police Report?

When filing a police report, either at the scene or later, ensure it includes:

  • Date and time of the accident.
  • Locations and descriptions of vehicles involved.
  • Names and contact information of all parties and witnesses.
  • Detailed description of the accident.

2. What Are the Consequences of Not Filing a Police Report?

Failing to file a police report can lead to complications:

  • Difficulty in insurance claims: Without a report, proving your claim to the insurance company becomes challenging.
  • Legal issues: If the other party files a lawsuit, lacking a police report could put you at a disadvantage.

This table outlines potential consequences:



Insurance Claim Rejection

Insurance companies might deny claims without a police report.

Legal Liability Challenges

Without a report, it can be harder to establish facts in court.

Understanding legal implications

3. Can You Be Sued Without a Police Report?

Yes, you can be sued even without a police report. However, a police report provides an official record of the incident, which can be crucial in legal proceedings.

VIII. Appendix

A. Glossary of Terms Related to Car Accidents and Police Reports

  • Liability: Legal responsibility for the accident.
  • Claim: Request for payment from an insurance company.
  • Hit-and-run: Leaving the scene of an accident without providing contact information.

B. Links to State-Specific Laws and Regulations Regarding Accidents

Different states have varied laws regarding car accidents and police reporting. For detailed information, visit:

Final Thoughts

If the police don’t show up after a car accident, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to ensure everyone’s safety, gather evidence, and report the incident yourself.

Understanding your state’s laws and the importance of a police report can significantly affect the outcome of insurance claims and legal proceedings. Remember, being prepared and informed is your best defense in these situations.

For more information or to discuss your specific case, feel free to reach out for a free consultation with a legal expert.

Remember, this article provides general advice, and it’s always best to consult with a professional for guidance tailored to your situation.

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