man filing a police report

Do I Need to Report My Accident to the Police in Chicago?

Whether you are legally bound to report your accident to the police depends on the specific facts of your case. However, it is always advisable to report the accident to the police even if it’s not required by law. 

A police report becomes a written third-party record of the accident and can be very important in any future dealings with the other parties, insurance companies, and court proceedings.   It’s also a good idea to consult with an experienced accident attorney for advice if you’ve been in an accident.

You’ve Been in an Accident, Here’s What You Do First

After an accident, you want to make sure that everyone involved gets the medical attention they need. Call 911 to report the accident and request a police officer and emergency medical services if necessary. Once the police arrive, they will write up a police report which can be extremely helpful to you.

In Illinois, the drivers involved in a traffic accident have to file a crash report if:

  • the crash caused death, bodily injury, or more than $1,500 of property damage when all drivers have insurance
  • If any driver is not insured, the amount of property damage required to file a report drops to $500

What happens if a police officer doesn’t come to the scene of the accident? In that case, a report has to be filed with the police as soon as possible and within 10 days of the accident.

How Does a Police Report Help Me?

A written police report provides an objective account of the accident which can bolster your position down the road. What if the other party denies liability or flees the scene? Or say that they had the right of way when you actually had the right of way?

The police officer who writes the report will set forth a neutral and unbiased account of what happened. Their report will include details, such as the date, time, location, parties involved, and a description of the incident. 

The police report will also be a valuable tool for determining liability. Reports may sometimes include the officer’s assessment of the accident and statements from involved parties and witnesses. This information can be extremely helpful when assessing who was at fault or contributed to the accident. This determination can be crucial for insurance claims and potential legal actions.

In addition, when processing accident claims insurance companies often rely on police reports. Providing them with an official police report can help support your version of events and ensure accurate and timely processing of your claim.

If a legal claim is pursued, the police report can serve as evidence in court. Its objective account of the accident can support your case when presenting facts and establishing liability.

Call a Chicago Accident Attorney with Questions 

Being involved in an accident is scary and stressful, especially if it is your first time. You may be dealing with injuries, missed time at work, and property damage. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help answer all of your questions and concerns. They can assess the facts of your case and guide you through an insurance claim or legal action if appropriate.