How Long After a Car Accident Can You File a Police Report?
Posted in Car Accidents on March 10, 2019
The aftermath of a car accident can be confusing, making you fail to call the police from the scene of the collision. Although the best-case scenario is to stay at the scene and call 911 before leaving if it caused injuries, deaths, or more than $500 in property damages, this is not always what happens.
You may have thought your accident was not serious enough for you to report it at the time, or something else may have happened to stop you from making the call. Either way, you may have a time limit by which you or a lawyer must file. Different time limits may apply depending on the type of report you need to file.
Missouri Police Report Time Limit
Missouri law does not impose a time limit on when you can file a police report. However, drivers should do this immediately, from the scene of the accident. Leaving the accident without calling the police could constitute a hit-and-run, and lead to criminal charges. Legally, you must stop, check for injuries, and call the police right away if the accident is serious enough to meet the threshold.
If for some reason you do not call the police right away, do so as soon as possible once you realize you need to file a report. For example, if you did not think you had injuries, but later discover you have a brain injury, you can call 911 and report your car accident as soon as you receive your diagnosis. The police may visit you or the scene of the accident to obtain more information.
If you were unable to call the police right away, you may need the help of a Kansas City car accident attorney. If so, reach out to Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet today.
30 Days to File With the Missouri Department of Revenue
Filing a report with the Missouri Department of Revenue is not the same as filing a police report. If you filed a police report right away, the police will have submitted a report with the Department of Revenue for you. Otherwise, it will be your responsibility to submit this report within 30 days of your accident. Drivers must legally report car accidents to the Missouri Department of Revenue if it involves injuries, death, more than $500 in damages, an uninsured driver, or a hit-and-run.
You may visit your local Department of Revenue to file your report in person. You will need to fill out and submit an official motor vehicle accident report. The law expects you to file this report if the crash happened in Missouri, happened within the last 12 months, and if someone in the accident did not have insurance. Although you have 30 days to file this report, you should do so as soon as possible. You may have to give a reason for delaying your report, such as incapacitating injuries.
Deadline to Report a Crash to Insurance Companies
You will need to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company if you wish to recover compensation for your damages. Most insurance companies stipulate that claimants must call to report an accident as soon as possible. This can vary depending on the circumstances, but most companies will enforce a two-week time limit. Call the insurance company right away to avoid giving it a reason to deny your claim.
The Statute of Limitations on a Car Accident Claim
If you believe you have grounds for a car accident personal injury lawsuit, a different deadline applies. The state has a law called a statute of limitations that limits how long claimants have before they lose the right to file. The State of Missouri Revisor of Statutes Section 516.120 states that all actions for injuries to a person or personal property must come within five years of the date of the incident.
You will have five years from your car accident to file a civil claim. Failure to meet this deadline could result in giving up your right to compensation. Contact an attorney if you have any questions about specific time limits on filing different types of reports and claims following a car accident in Kansas City.