Can you recover for a personal injury if the investigating officer or company representative never filled out an accident report? For example, if a police officer in Virginia believes that the damage to the cars involved in the wreck are minimal, he or she may not fill out a formal accident report. Sometimes we are contacted by clients who are wondering whether they can bring a personal injury claim because there was no formal accident report. What is the answer?
There is no requirement that an accident report have been filed to support a personal injury claim arising from a car wreck or from even an injury at a place of business. What is always required is that there must be sufficient evidence to support the fact that the other driver was careless and that you as a personal injury victim were not careless in the cause of the car wreck. Even if injured in a store or at a business, the key is whether evidence supports the case–not whether the business filled out a report. Accident reports are not a fundamental necessity for a personal injury lawyer to represent you.
The same rule goes for a non-vehicle personal injury. It is not mandatory that there has been an accident report filled out on other types of incidents as long as there is independent, corroborating evidence to support the fact that your injury was caused by the carelessness of a business or person.
Sometimes our clients are not aware whether there was ever an accident report filled out by a police officer–these reports are not given out at the accident scene. Formal accident reports can be obtained by writing to the police department or the state police requested same and by including the nominal fee. Virginia accident reports have a code sheet that is read in conjunction with the accident report and this should be reviewed along with the report for important information. Businesses often don’t tell an injured victim if they intend to fill out a written report, or will not provide it unless a lawsuit is filed.