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October 15, 2021

Why Do I Need To File A Police Report After A Car Accident In New Orleans?

by Evan Breaux | Police Report | 0 comments

Brief Summary:

Reporting a car accident in New Orleans is incredibly important, whether it is a fender bender or an 18-wheeler accident. But here at Breaux Law Firm, we often get asked why this is the case. Below, we explain why you are legally required to report a car accident in Louisiana and why doing so is beneficial to you as a car accident victim.

Needless to say, having prior knowledge about what to do after a roadway accident will help you take balancing decisions and steps immediately after an unfortunate car accident. Taking proper decisions and steps are vital to keep you safe and defend your legal rights. 

Filing a police report after an accident is one of the most important things you can do as a victim of a car crash—no matter who is to blame for the accident. The process of filing a report is painless and easy and will protect you from insurance fraud while also helping to ensure you are fully compensated for injuries and property damage by your insurance company and/or the other drivers involved in the car crash.

What is a Police Report?

A police report is an unbiased, third-party statement about the details of the car accident. An investigating officer generates the police report in response to a request for assistance at a car accident spot. It contains a summary of information regarding the crash and the opinions of the investigating officer. The police report is used as evidence in a settlement claim. 

What Information Does an Accident Report Contain? 

A police report includes some or all of the following information:

  • The accident location
  • The date and time of the accident 
  • Roadway, weather, and surrounding conditions
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, insurance information of involved parties, etc.
  • Injuries sustained by all drivers involved in the car accident
  • Property damage to all vehicles involved
  • Eye-witness statements
  • Driver statements
  • Opinions to the cause of the collision and fault determination

Why Is a Police Report Important?

A police report works as the most effective evidence for a car accident, since it is unbiased and generated by a third-party professional investigator. If you want to pursue compensation from the insurance company or want to file a personal injury lawsuit it will provide significant clues. Without that evidence, insurance settlement cases become drastically more challenging 

Likewise, not having an accident report will weaken your claim and you may be deprived of your rights. Even if you don’t plan to make a claim, obtaining a copy of a police report after a car accident is crucial to avoid future scams.

Many people think they don’t need to file a police report for a minor fender-bender; in fact, this is not true. They may think the damage and injuries are minor, however, later they could discover that the damages and injuries are more than they realized at first; they may experience symptoms of severe injury later. Therefore, whether an accident is major or minor, always file a police report without delay.

First, know that you are legally required in the state of Louisiana to report a car accident.

According to Louisiana legislation RS 32:398, a driver “of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or property damage in excess of five hundred dollars” is required to “immediately, by the quickest means of communication, give notice of the accident to the local police department if the accident occurs within an incorporated city or town or, if the accident occurs outside of an incorporated city or town, to the nearest sheriff’s office or a state police station.” 

Furthermore, there is an additional requirement for even smaller car accidents (often called fender benders), which is that: “the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of any person or total property damage to an apparent extent of one hundred dollars or more shall, within twenty-four hours after the accident, forward a written report of the accident to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.”

When you file a police report after an accident, the police officer will forward the report to the Department of Public Safety and Corrections within forty-eight hours—which helps take one thing off your plate in the chaotic aftermath of a car accident.

To break this down in simpler language, a car accident must be reported as quickly as possible to the local police station if the incident involves:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • $500 or more in property damage to either vehicle

Additionally, a written report must be sent to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections within twenty-four hours after the event if the accident involves:

  • Injury
  • Death
  • $100 or more in property damage

Failure to file a police report or a report with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections could lead to a possible fine of up to $100, as many as 60 days in prison, or both. 

Second, a police report will help your attorneys secure fair and full compensation for if you or a loved one has suffered injuries or damages as a result of a car accident, no matter you.

How large or small—whether a minor side-swipe, small fender bender, or disastrous 18-wheeler accident—you could be entitled to compensation. Personal injury attorneys, such as the experienced team at Breaux Law Firm, have the expertise, knowledge, and skills necessary for building a strong case. 

We know how to handle insurance companies and we’re aware of the tricks they have up their sleeves to avoid paying you a fair amount. Our personal injury attorneys are prepared to help you get the compensation you deserve. 

But there’s one key piece of information we’ll need in order to be successful in getting you that compensation—and that’s a police report. Those unbiased details of the accident, injuries, and property damage, as reported by a police officer, are a key component to our success in fighting for you.

What if I’m At-Fault for the Car Accident? Can’t a Police Report Hurt Me?

No, a police report can’t hurt you if you believe you are at fault for the accident. Filing a  police report for a car accident is essential even if you are at fault. If anything, the police report will protect you from worse accusations or even insurance fraud.

Even if the facts of the car crash are not in your favor, and it seems clear to everyone involved that you caused the accident, having the facts of the accident written down by an unbiased and accurate third party—the police officer—will undoubtedly help you in the long run. Relying solely on the statements of those involved in the accident could end up getting you in even more hot water. And at Breaux Law Firm, we don’t want to see that! 

How to File and Get a Copy of  Police Report for a Car Accident in New Orleans?

If you’re a victim of an auto accident follow the steps to obtain a police report. 

  • Call the police. After a car accident, the first thing you should do is use your phone to call 911. Not only it is important to have a police officer at the scene of the accident, but you may also need the police to facilitate your safe exit from the car or your safe transfer to a hospital in an ambulance. If you are outside of a city or town, you should call the local sheriff’s office.
  • Discuss the details of the accident : The officer will ask you and all parties involved in the accident a series of questions. They will also speak with other witnesses to understand the situation. Accident scene investigators usually ask for standard information such as name, license plate number, address, etc. Besides while waiting for the police to arrive at the scene, it’s a good idea to take photos and videos of the accident scene if possible. You should provide the photographs and videos to the officer, these are valuable to determine what happened exactly.
  • Getting a copy of a police report: After finishing investigating, the officer should provide you with an incident number or an identification number for the police report. Before the officer leaves the scene, request for the business card or contact info of the responding officer in case you need to reach them in the future. 

It takes a few weeks for the investigating officer to complete a crash report, and the officer will inform you of an approximate estimated time of when it will be available. 

For obtaining a copy of the crash report contact the traffic division of the local law enforcement agency that responded to the scene of the car accident.

In Louisiana, the state police keep their reports online. You can get the report online from or you can go to the police station to get it. If your accident happened in New Orleans you can get the crash report at the NOPD Reports and Records Requests. 

You have to provide the crash report identification number and pay the administrative fee to get the police report copy. If you don’t have the identification number of the police report, you can get the report by providing the state, time, and location of the auto accident. 

Call Breaux Law Firm for Top-notch Support!

Once you are safe and sound, back at home, and on the road to recovery, the next thing you should do is reach out to Breaux Law Firm for a free consultation. Being in a car accident is frightening, and getting back on your feet should be as easy as possible. The expert personal injury attorneys at Breaux Law Firm have been in business for decades, working successfully in New Orleans and Louisiana for thousands of clients.

We’ll help you understand your case and select the right path forward. Whatever option we choose, it will be to your advantage. We’re happy to spend the time it takes for you to understand your case and what comes next. Our reputation speaks for itself. We’re ready to fight for you.