A police report can prove to be an incredibly powerful piece of evidence in your car accident case.
When each side is telling a different story, the police report is often viewed as an objective recollection of events, as they don’t have anything to gain from the process.
While severe car accidents will invite the presence of the police on the scene, for not so serious events you’ll often have to file a report yourself.
Can You Do It Online?
In Missouri, you currently cannot get a police report online. There is an online form you can download, but you still have to physically mail it in. To file the report, there are three criteria your car accident should meet:
- The accident happened in the last 12 months
- The accident involved an uninsured motorist
- The accident resulted in injuries, fatalities, or property damage of more than $500
In Missouri, you are legally required to carry auto insurance to protect yourself in these kinds of situations. The police cannot realistically handle every single fender-bender that occurs, so if both drivers are insured, then there is no reason for police intervention.
Things change when the stakes are higher, however. If the car accident caused serious damage, injuries, or even ended in fatalities, then the police should be called at the scene.
What Can You Do to File the Report?
If the situation warrants it, you should call 911 and get the police directly at the scene, where they can take your statements, talk to witnesses, and file their own report. The preliminary version of that report will generally be published online on the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s website, and it will remain there for 29 days. This will contain rough information about the event.
To get the full report, you’ll have to make an official request with the MSHP.
If, however, you did not call the police on the scene but still want to file a report, you can then do so directly at the nearest precinct.
Will There Be an Investigation?
If an official report is filed, then the police have a duty to investigate the issue mentioned in the report. However, the depth of the investigation, as well as how long it will take greatly depends on the severity of the car crash.
Accidents with many injuries or fatalities will obviously be prioritized, particularly because there is also a criminal component. However, more minor accidents might not generate a lot of details in the police report.
Speak With an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, and plan on getting compensation, you should reach out to a St. Louis car injury lawyer as soon as possible for legal advice. They will help you understand and protect your legal rights after a car accident. Give us a call 24/7 for a FREE consultation at (314) 361-4242.