Can You File a Police Report Days After an Accident?

When you’re learning to drive, your main focus is on how to operate the vehicle and avoid any accidents. Unfortunately, the information regarding what to do if you do crash is very limited when learning to drive. 

Due to this, you may be left in confusion over what your next steps to do are if you are ever involved in a road collision. One of the most important things to do if you crash is to file a police report. 

However, what if you forgot to file a police report at the time of the incident? Well, don’t sweat it! You can still file a police report after an accident has occurred. 

There could be a wide range of reasons why you never filed on the day of the accident. You may have been caught up in the stress of the accident. You may have even called the police but they never followed up the report with you. 

When to Ideally Contact the Police About Your Accident?

In a perfect world, you would file a police report regarding your car accident as soon as it happens. If it is a bad crash, law enforcement will be needed at the scene to divert other vehicles and help to tend to any wounded people.

When the police officer arrives at the scene, they will complete a report and file it as soon as they’re back in their office. During this, you should ask the police officer for a copy of the report.

If you’re unsure whether the police officer has correctly filed your report, then you can call your local law enforcement office to check. They will be able to confirm whether the report has been filed.

Can Another Person File a Police Report for You?

If you are able to, we always recommend filing the police report yourself. That way, you know straight away that it has been filed and is on it’s way to being processed. 

However, if you are unable to file the report yourself, then another passenger in your vehicle can do so instead. This would be acceptable if you were mentally or physically unable to do it on your own. 

Another situation where someone else can file a police report for you is if you have a personal injury lawyer. Usually, the personal injury lawyer will take care of filing the police report on your behalf. 

One thing we advise is to never assume that your insurance company will file the report for you. Nor should you assume that they will follow up the report with law enforcement. You are responsible for meeting your filing obligations.

What to Consider if You Are Filing a Police Report After an Accident?

You are able to file a police report after an accident has occurred however, there are some things you need to consider. 

Did you leave the accident without calling law enforcement?

Depending on the state, the instructions vary for filing a police report after an accident. In many cases, law enforcement officers will allow you to file the report over the phone or online. 

However, there could be certain circumstances that would result in criminal penalties if you haven’t notified the police straight after the accident.

Did you fail to file a police report within 10 days after the accident?

After 10 days, you are still able to file a report by sending it through via mail. However, if you do this there are some things to be aware of.

In some cases, filing after the initial 10 days can result in criminal penalties. These include suspension of your driver’s license. 

If you have a genuine reason for not reporting within 10 days, it’s a good idea to contact a criminal defence lawyer. They will be able to walk you through the consequences of filing your report late.

Will This Affect Your Insurance Claim?

In a nutshell, filing your police report after the accident has occurred can delay your insurance company’s investigation. Meaning that, if you are awaiting a payout from your insurance, then this may also delay the payment. 

An important thing to note is that filing a police report and an insurance claim are two separate things. Just because you have filed one or the other, doesn’t mean that you don’t need to do another. 

The Differences Between a Police Report and an Insurance Claim

What are the differences between a police report and an insurance claim? The most basic answer to this is that they are both completely different processes that need to be followed through. 

We have taken a look into the police reports above and they need to be the first priority after an accident has happened. Then you can move onto notifying your insurance company.

When you take out your car insurance you are legally bound to inform them of any road accidents. This is true whether you were the perpetrator or the victim. Even if you don’t plan on filing an insurance claim, they will still need to be informed that the accident occurred. 

If you are planning to file an insurance claim, it is a good idea to get checked by a doctor as soon as possible. This will help speed up the process. 


We hope that you have found some helpful information in this post. Filing a police report is not always as straightforward as it seems. This is especially true if you have been badly injured or your law enforcement officials aren’t prioritizing your report. 

Some basic things to take from this post are to file and follow up the report yourself as soon as possible. Filing a police report isn’t considered late until after ten days have passed. 

If you are filing after ten days, you could face your driver’s license being suspended. However, if you have a good reason as to why you didn’t file the report on time, it is best to contact a criminal defence lawyer.