Car Accident Reports in Missouri

The Missouri Department of Revenue expects you to file an accident report for all but the most minor car accidents. This is true even though the police will file their own police report if they arrive at the accident scene. You have to file an accident report, whether the police file a police report or not.

Do I Have to Report a Minor Fender Bender?

Missouri expects those involved in a car accident to make a report following:

  • Accidents that result in injury, death, or property damage over $500, even if your car was parked at the time of the accident.
  • Accidents with uninsured drivers, even if the accident occurs in a parking lot.

Some at-fault drivers refrain from reporting accidents out of fear that their insurance rates will increase. This is not a good idea because you could multiply the negative consequences that way as you’ll be violating a state law. 

When Should You Report a Car Accident?

You should report the accident as soon as you possibly can. Of course, your injuries might prevent you from reporting the accident immediately. By law, you have 30 days from the accident to report it. Medical evidence might extend this deadline if your injuries justify a reporting delay.

Do I Need a Copy of the Police Report?

Yes. The police report is separate from the report that you fill out on your own. Most insurance companies require you to submit both reports before they even commence settlement negotiations with you. This is true even though the accident report is generally not admissible as evidence in a court of law because of the hearsay rule. Instead of admitting the police report as evidence, you should call the police officer who made the report as a witness and question them directly.

The accident report lets you and the insurance company know what the officer will likely say if the case goes to trial. In this way, it helps you and the insurance company estimate the ultimate strength of your claim. Keep in mind that if the officer testifies in court in a manner that contradicts something they recorded in the accident report, an exception applies. This exception could let you use the contents of the accident report to contradict the officer’s testimony.

What Information Is Typically Included in a Police Report?

Most car accident police reports include information such as:

  • The identity and contact information of all drivers involved in the accident;
  • Information about passengers and anyone else involved in the accident;
  • Statements of any witnesses;
  • Whether any driver committed a traffic violation;
  • The police officer’s opinion as to who was at fault;
  • A diagram of the accident scene drawn by the police officer; and
  • The road and weather conditions at the time of the accident.

Other relevant information might also be included.

Who Decides What Information Is Included in the Police Report?

As a practical matter, the police officer who responded to the accident fills out the police report. However, the officer’s superiors might exert some influence, and two police officers responding to the same accident might draw different conclusions.

Can You Challenge the Contents of a Police Report?

Yes. Negligence and other forms of fault are legal conclusions determined by a court or by an agreement between private parties negotiating an out-of-court settlement. It is not determined by police testimony alone.

Talk To a Lawyer

An experienced car accident lawyer can help you win a compensation claim arising from a car accident. Even a police report that blames you for the accident will not necessarily doom your claim, although it is not good news. If you were injured in an accident, the best time to get moving on your claim is now. And in the extremely unfortunate event that someone died in the accident and you are a close relative, talk to a lawyer about filing a wrongful death claim.

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm For Help Today

For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.

St. Louis Office
1430 Washington Ave Suite #226 St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 400-0000

Kansas City Office
1509 NE Parvin Rd, Suite A., Kansas City, MO 64116
(816) 408-3448

Or if you would prefer to reach out to us online, please visit our contact us page.