Do car accidents need to be reported to the police to claim compensation?
It is important to follow the correct process when seeking accident compensation or your claim may be rejected. If you’ve been involved in a car accident then you must make a police traffic accident report in QLD.
A car accident police report is an unbiased official record of important details like who was involved and any injuries or damage that occured. That information could be vital to proving your compensation claim.
By not reporting a car accident, you may forfeit your right to compensation. You also risk serious legal ramifications if you did not make a police crash report and anyone is injured or dies as a result of the accident.
When to report an accident to police
Even a minor motor vehicle accident is a stressful situation. They happen suddenly with little time to process how it unfolded. As you deal with that initial shock, it is essential that you clearly understand what to do when you crash and when to report an accident to police.
You are legally required to make a police report after an accident in situations that are classed as a ‘reportable crash’. This includes when:
- the crash causes death or injury requiring medical attention
- a driver is failing or refusing to provide required details
- drugs and/or alcohol may be involved
- a vehicle involved in the crash is undrivable and needs to be towed
If the accident falls under the definition of a reportable crash then each driver involved must report the accident to police regardless of who is at fault. The quickest way to report a car accident to police is to call 000. Police will attend the scene of a reportable crash to ask questions about what happened and file a car accident report with information such as:
- where the car accident occurred
- the date and time of the car accident
- contact details and car registration numbers of the drivers involved
- whether anybody sustained injuries
- whether there was any damage to the cars involved
statements of witnesses or other people involved
It is a criminal offence not to give this information to the police or to give false information about a motor vehicle accident. For minor collisions which don’t require police attendance, you will need to file a car accident report yourself either in person, by phone or online.
Even if your car accident is not classed as a reportable crash, it is still a good idea to have an official record for your compensation claim. You may not be able to pursue compensation for a car accident with no police report. Making a police report after an accident can also help protect you if the other driver makes a claim against you or disputes your version of events.
How long do I have to report a car accident?
You should always call the police immediately after you are involved in a car accident. Queensland legislation requires a reportable crash be reported to police within 24 hours of the incident occurring, unless there are exceptional circumstances (such as if you needed medical treatment) where it must be reported as soon as possible.
You may be hesitant to file a police report after an accident if you are unsure about who is at fault and how the collision occurred. However, if you do not report a car accident within a reasonable time frame then you could be fined or even imprisoned. It is also important to be honest when making a police report after an accident. If you give a false or misleading statement then you could lose your right to compensation and have to pay for the damages.
Can I report an accident online?
If you are involved in a reportable crash then you must notify the police either in person or on the phone so they can attend the scene. However, you can report a car accident online for minor collisions with minor damage to vehicles. Any drivers involved in a non-reportable crash can choose to submit a police crash report for insurance or compensation purposes.
To get an accident report online, you will need identification (such as your driver’s licence or passport), a valid and current email address, and details of the vehicle involved in the accident. You may also attach photographs or videos of the accident.
It generally won’t take long to get a police report after an accident when you submit the form online. You will receive a QLD Police report number to your nominated email address within 5 days. Any person involved in a traffic crash or whose property was damaged as a result can access the information in the crash report for a fee.
The Personal Injury Lawyers have a specialist team of car accident compensation lawyers to ensure you understand every step of the process. Call, chat or email us for expert legal advice and guidance when you’ve been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident.