If you were injured in a car crash in Minnesota that wasn’t your fault, you could pursue compensation from the at-fault driver for your injuries and losses. At the time of the crash, though, you might wonder whether you should file a police report. You should. It’s one way to help protect your right to pursue compensation from the at-fault driver.
A Minnesota Motorist’s Duties After an Accident
In the case of a fender bender, you typically do not have a duty to report the accident in Minnesota. However, Minnesota law requires drivers to stop and remain at an accident scene if the driver knows or has reason to know the collision resulted in injury to or death of another person. In a situation like that, you must give reasonable assistance to any person injured in the accident. You cannot leave the scene until you provide specific personal information.
As of July 2021, the Minnesota law that required you to file a Minnesota Motor Vehicle Accident Report, crash report form, incident report, or state accident report was repealed. Even though you’re not required to do so, you should always report any accident to law enforcement. It may make a meaningful difference later if you file a personal injury claim.
However, it is imperative to remember that although state law no longer requires you to file any accident report, Minnesota law still requires you to notify authorities if injury or death occurs in an accident.
Information Contained in a Minnesota Accident Report
A Minnesota Motor Vehicle Accident Report includes:
- The date, time, and location of the accident
- Information about the drivers, their vehicles, and their insurance
- Information about any personal injuries or property damage resulting from the accident
- Driver and eyewitness statements describing the details of the accident
- Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
An accident report also contains a section where the person filing the report can describe the accident “in sufficient detail” to disclose the causes of the accident. Whether you or a law enforcement officer completes and files the report, this section will provide an official record of the cause of the accident.
The Importance of an Accident Report
You may think it is unnecessary to file a police report after a motor vehicle accident. However, if you seek compensation for your personal injuries and other losses, an official police report could strengthen your case. Any insurance defense or personal injury attorney will want a copy of this police report if you file a claim or personal injury lawsuit to pursue compensation.
In addition to the report you file yourself, there should also be a police report. After a motorist reports an accident, a police officer should arrive on the scene to investigate the accident. This officer will prepare a police report upon concluding the investigation. A law enforcement officer who investigates an accident must file a report within ten days of the date of the accident. This evidence may prove crucial in proving liability in a personal injury claim.
A police officer’s report of the accident’s underlying circumstances, including the cause of the accident, can provide favorable objective evidence if you file a personal injury claim. The police report serves as an unbiased, third-party perspective of the circumstances of the accident. Although an accident report cannot be used as evidence in court, if the officer testifies to the information they recorded in the report, a Minnesota court might consider this objective account of the accident more credible and reliable than either driver’s subjective, biased account of what happened.
Although Minnesota law does not require motorists to file accident reports, they still can and should. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety provides information online about reporting a motor vehicle crash. Even if you think you are at fault, you still should file a police report of the accident.
Contact a Minnesota Car Accident Attorney Today
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by another person, consider the benefits and advantages of consulting a Minnesota car accident attorney. The skilled and capable Minneapolis car accident attorneys of Robert Wilson & Associates can help in a variety of ways. We can investigate the accident to determine who was at fault. We can handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf. We can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to reach a fair settlement of your claim. If we can’t secure an appropriate settlement, we can take your case to trial to pursue the compensation you need.