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Report Car Accidents: A Step-By-Step Guide

Learn how to properly report car accidents and get the information insurance companies need. This is a fast and easy guide to filing a report.

We are personal injury experts who have achieved results for our clients in Missouri for over 40 years.

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What to Do After a Car Accident in Missouri


Being involved in a vehicular collision can significantly impact your life. Whether the collision results in a severe injury or merely a short inconvenience, you may have legal responsibilities. In most cases, you may report the accident to the local authorities.

There are several reports to make when a car accident occurs, depending on the accident’s severity and where it occurred. If you fail to report such accidents, there might be repercussions, especially when you were involved in the accident and not just an observer.

If you’re in such a situation, immediately contact a car accident attorney in Missouri to seek clarity on the next steps and legal advice regarding your potential case. The law firm of Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien, P.C. may be able to help you through the process.

How Do I Report a Car Accident in Missouri?


The first thing you want to do after a car accident is to ensure that everyone involved in the crash is safe and unharmed. The next step is to write down the license plate number of the other vehicle, take photos of any damage, and collect the other driver’s insurance information. The accident scene should also be marked with warning triangles, your hazard lights should be on, and emergency services should be called if necessary.

You must also report the accident to the necessary officials. While a car accident lawyer can offer directions on when and where to report the crash, the following section provides insights on reporting such incidents in Missouri.


Emergency Services

If you or anyone involved in the accident has been severely injured, you’ll need to call emergency services on 911. The emergency personnel can provide valuable information, such as what to do next or where to go for medical attention.

In contrast, if the accident is a minor one or no one is seriously injured, contact your local law enforcement helpline for non-emergencies. If you’re in Missouri, St. Louis, Joplin, or Springfield, you can find information on non-emergency law enforcement helplines here.

The Driver License Bureau

You also need to report car accidents to the Driver License Bureau in the following cases:

  • If the auto crash occurred less than a year ago
  • If an uninsured driver was involved
  • If anyone was injured or killed
  • If there was damage to property that cost more than $500.

In such cases, you’ll need to fill out an accident report form and mail it to the Bureau within 30 days of the accident. If you need help preparing your report or have other questions about the issue, an auto accident lawyer may be of assistance.


The Police or Local Law Enforcement

If you were involved in a car accident, it is essential to report the incident to the police as soon as possible. The police will secure the site, investigate the accident and obtain information about the vehicles involved, the individuals involved, witness statements, and exchange contact information.

If possible, note the badge number of the responding officers at the scene. This information could be relevant when you’re following up on the case. Following the investigation, ensure you obtain a police report on the accident. This could be relevant if you intend to seek compensation for any damage or injury to your person or your property.

Sometimes, different counties in Missouri have different procedures for reporting car accidents. For instance, in Missouri, if you’re involved in a minor car crash, you are required to file a citizen crash report with the police department. The report should be filed when there are no personal injuries from the accident and could be made in person or at the MissouriPolice Department front desk.

In Missouri, you are required to contact the Records and Technical Services arm of the Missouri Police Department to report an accident.

If you need further information on the procedure in St. Louis, Springfield, or other counties in Missouri, a St. Louis car accident attorney might be able to answer your questions.


The Insurance Company

If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you should also contact your car insurance provider and provide them with as much information as possible about the incident, including the vehicles involved, so that they can assess liability and coverage.

Expenses the insurance company may cover include but are not limited to the following expenses:

  • Lost wages from injuries
  • Medical bills
  • Property damage from a fender bender or minor accident
  • Pain and suffering.

Your insurance company will also assess the damage to your vehicle and determine whether it is totaled. If the cost of repairs exceeds a certain percentage of the car’s value, then they may consider it a total loss.

In addition, if you were not at fault for the accident, your insurance agent can help you file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company. This process can be complex and time-consuming, so it may be helpful to seek assistance from an experienced car accident lawyer to ensure that you receive fair compensation.

Do You Have to File a Car Accident Report?


You may not have to file a report if neither vehicle caused damage, injuries, or fatalities. However, if you are in an accident where someone else is at fault and they leave the scene, you need to file an accident report with your local police department.

If you are unsure whether you need to file a police report after your accident, reach out to a local legal team.

What Are the Consequences of Failing to Report a Car Accident?


You should report an accident if you’ve been involved in one. You can be charged with a misdemeanor if you fail to do so. An auto accident lawyer can further explain your rights and responsibilities and help you weigh your options.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me After a Car Accident?

The process of reporting a car accident in Missouri varies with each county. Missouri accident attorneys can help you identify the correct procedure depending on your county.

If you have suffered damage to your property or bodily harm from an accident, your lawyer can also help you seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company. The compensation would help you offset the accident’s medical expenses and lost earnings.

Many insurance companies try to undercut compensation claimants by minimizing their complaints or even blaming them for the accident. Your lawyer can help you counter their antics and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

At Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien P.C., we have spent years successfully providing solutions for our clients and helping them resolve their car accident and personal injury cases. With our knowledge and experience, we can do the same for you.

We have offices in St. Louis, Joplin and Springfield and are ready to answer any questions you might have about your case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney.

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