FAQs: Car Accident Reports In Louisiana
After an auto accident in Louisiana, you must satisfy several duties. One of these duties is to notify the police of your crash and provide information to the responding officers. The officers will produce a car accident report summarizing their crash investigation.
This report can provide valuable information to you and your injury lawyer as you pursue an injury claim. Although the report itself typically does not constitute admissible evidence, it can provide leads that help your attorney build your case for compensation.
Many car accident victims have little or no experience dealing with injury claims and other aspects of their crash. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Louisiana car accident reports.
How Long Do You Have to Report an Accident?
Many accident victims wonder, “How long do you have to report a car accident?” Under Louisiana law, you must “immediately give notice” to the police of any accident that causes:
- Property damage over $500
Truck drivers and trucking companies must immediately report all trucking accidents regardless of the outcomes caused. The law does not define “immediately.” But this generally means you must call the police while still at the accident scene. If you wait until after you leave the scene, you are probably breaking the law.
What Happens if I Don’t Report an Accident?
If you violate the reporting requirement, you face a fine of up to $25. The state will also suspend your driver’s license for up to 30 days. For purposes of determining the punishment, a late report is the same as a non-report.
The duty to report falls on the driver. If the driver’s injuries prevent them from reporting the crash, a passenger must report it.
When to File a Police Report for Car Damage?
You must file a police report whenever the property damage suffered by any one person exceeds $500. This includes non-motorists as well as the state. Thus, you must report a crash if you cause $500 in damage to someone’s fence or the state’s guardrails.
What Is In a Car Accident Report?
Car accident reports summarize the crash investigation. These reports include the name, address, and insurance information for each driver. They also include a list of witnesses and any citations issued by the police. Finally, the officer includes a narrative summary of what happened, diagrams, and photographs of the accident scene.
Are Car Accident Reports Confidential?
Car accident reports are confidential in Louisiana. Only certain parties can obtain the full and unredacted copy of the crash report.
Parties that can access full crash reports include:
- Parties to the crash
- Guardians of minors involved in the crash
- Owners of property damaged in the crash
- Insurers and lawyers for any person who suffered death, injury, or property loss
Before you can get a copy of your unredacted accident report, you must attest that you fall into one of these categories.
How Do I Get My Car Accident Report?
The process for getting a crash report depends on the jurisdiction that investigated your crash. You can request crash reports from the Louisiana State Police using their online portal. The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office processes online crash report requests using a third party. The Baton Rouge Police Department requires you to request reports in person or by mail.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Uses a Car Accident Report
Accident reports provide valuable information. When you visit an injury lawyer, take a copy of your crash report with you. It will help the lawyer quickly understand what happened and what rights you might have. The lawyer will use the report as the starting point for your insurance claim.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Baton Rouge, LA
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and need legal help, contact our Baton Rouge personal injury lawyers at Palmintier Law Group to schedule a free consultation today.