Can a person make an accident report to the police after 24 hours have passed?

UPDATED: Dec 5, 2011

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Can a person make an accident report to the police after 24 hours have passed?

I had a car accident and we exchanged details since it was my fault. But she proclaimed she would call me the next day but she called me in 2 days. Can she make a police report?

Asked on December 5, 2011 under Accident Law, Illinois


L.P., Member, Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Thank you for submitting your question regarding your possible liability for an accident where you were that at-fault driver.  The laws governing this issue will vary depending on the state you live in.  There are some states that the police will not file a police report if no one was injured in the motor vehicle accident.  After all, unless the police officer was a witness to the accident, the officer would only be reporting how both drivers state that the accident happened. 

However if you do not live in a state where the above is true, then a person involved in a motor vehicle accident can probably file a police report days after an accident.  Although if the accident is not reported at the time of the accident, the insurance company will wonder why a person would wait days to file a police report if their vehicle was damaged or if they sustained personal injuries.  Sometimes people go home and tell people they were in an accident, and then those people convince the driver to try and get some money out of the accident, especially if you admitted you were at-fault at the time of the accident.

Although in order for the insurance company to pay out on an insurance claim for a motor vehicle accident, the insurance company will want to confirm that the damages incurred to the person’s vehicle was caused by your accident and was not pre-existing damage or damage from another accident.  Your insurance company will examine your vehicle and compare it to their vehicle to see if the damage on their vehicle could have been caused by your vehicle.  If scratches or dents do not match up, then it is unlikely that your insurance company will compensate them for the claim.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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