Car accident claims without police report

After a car accident, it’s not always enough just to contact your insurance company. You may also need to call the police. This is especially important if anyone was hurt. But what if you forgot, or didn’t know you were supposed to, or just didn’t get around to it?

When do you need to call the police?

If a road accident is very minor, no-one is injured and you’re not obstructing traffic, there’s no need to involve the police. However, you must call the police if:

  • anyone is hurt, or trapped in a vehicle
  • someone involved in the accident failed to stop, or refused to exchange names and contact details
  • the accident obstructs traffic or causes other hazards to traffic, or
  • either driver appears to be under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

If a car or other vehicle has to be towed away, police may not need to attend the crash site, but you still have to report the accident to the police. You can do that later, after leaving the accident site, by calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

What are the time limits?

There’s a time limit of 28 days for reporting an accident to the police when you’ve been injured and you want to lodge a claim for compensation.

If you don’t report it within that timeframe, but still want to lodge a valid compensation claim you’ll be required to show that exceptional circumstances prevented you from reporting it within the time limit.

‘Exceptional circumstances’ is usually a combination of factors, including the nature and consequences of your injuries and need for medical treatment, as well as other aspects of your personal situation.

Even if no-one was injured, but your property was damaged by an accident that wasn’t your fault and you want to claim compensation, most insurers will ask for the Police Event Number, before they consider your claim.

What to do if you didn’t report the accident in time?

You should talk to a lawyer if you want to claim compensation, after the 28-day reporting period lapses. A lawyer experienced in dealing with the aftermath of road accidents can advise you on whether you have a case, what to do next and how to best protect your interests.

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