How Long Do You Have To File A Police Report After A Car Accident In Missouri?

This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Terry Crouppen who has more than 40 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney. Our last modified date shows when this page was last reviewed.

BY
JENNIFER WALSH, ATTORNEY

You have 30 days to file a police report in Missouri. However, it’s in your best interest to file a police report as soon as possible in almost all cases.

Why Should I Report The Accident?

It is important that you report the accident for several reasons, including:

1. Required by law – Some accidents must be reported. Under Missouri law, an accident shall be reported within 30 days if any owner/operator of an involved vehicle is uninsured and one of the following circumstances are met:

  • anybody is injured
  • anybody is killed
  • property damage exceeds $500

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may want to consider getting a car accident attorney to help with your claim. 

2. Complete record  Accident reports are usually the most complete record of the accident availableAlthough police reports vary from place to place, most will have some or all of the following information:

  • Makes and models of involved vehicles.
  • Road and weather conditions.
  • Layout of the accident scene.
  • Insurance information, if any.
  • Whether any traffic violations contributed to the accident (this is important for establishing liability.)
  • Witness statements (this is especially helpful if witnesses change their story after the fact.)

3. Filing a claim – Ultimately, reporting the accident can help support the car accident settlement process by improving the strength of the claim or lawsuit.

Note: Individuals who do not pursue legal action before the car accident statute of limitations deadline are unlikely to have a successful claim.

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What If The Police Don’t Come?

Occasionally, the police are unable or unwilling to come to an accident scene. This is  especially likely if the accident appears to be minor and has no reported injuries. If that happens:

  • Exchange information with any other drivers (if possible).
  • Take pictures of the scene from several angles.
  • Walk in a report to the nearest police station as soon as possible. In other words, go down to the police station and make a report there

What Happens If No Police Report Gets Filed?

For accidents where liability is explicitly clear (such as being rear-ended at a stoplight) the lack of a police report may not matter.

However, if there is any real debate about which driver is at fault, an insurance company is much more likely to deny a claim when no police report exists. This can be a common cause for why car accident cases take long or have delays.

Do I Have To Report The Accident To My Insurance Company?

Almost certainly. Most policies require you to report an accident, even if you were not at fault. The time frame for notice is typically short—just a few days. Read your policy language so you know how much time you have.

Additional Legal Considerations

If you ever do find yourself in an accident, follow our advice on what to do after an auto accidentAfterwards, you may get a free case evaluation from a car accident lawyer by calling 888-801-9825, or submit your request using our online form.

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