Have you ever been in a minor auto collision, a “bumper thumper” or a “fender bender?” Maybe you decided not to call the police because there wasn’t any visible damage or injuries.

All drivers should be warned: The safest practice is to call the police so you can get a valid police report.

Why you want a police report after a car crash

Following any car accident in West Virginia, it’s important for the people involved in the accident to call the police. The reason you’ll want the police to come is to protect yourself in the event that someone develops injuries related to the crash, or if previously unknown property damage later reveals itself.

You might step out of your car after a fender bender, notice that nothing appears amiss with yourself and your vehicle, and agree with the other party that the police aren’t necessary. However, there’s the chance that you or the other driver could develop a serious case of whiplash the next day. Or, you or the other driver might discover that an axle broke in the collision.

These issues will cost money in doctor bills and repair fees. Without a police report indicating who is at fault, you might not be able to recover the money you need — or, you might not be able to defend yourself against the other driver, if he or she says the accident was your fault.

Amending a police report

After the police officer draws up the police report, you should receive a copy. You might, however, discover that there is a factual or some other kind of error in the report. Particularly if that error serves to hurt your ability to pursue a claim for damages related to the accident, you might want to contact the police and request an amendment to the report.

Were you hurt in an auto accident?

A police report could come in handy if you were hurt in an auto accident — particularly if it wasn’t your fault. You might be able to use the information in the report to support a claim for financial damages. Be sure to fully understand the information in the police report associated with your car crash before you choose to take legal action.