At family reunions with your relatives from out of state, members from the Missouri branch of the family might feel tempted to smile smugly as the family members from other states grouse about the expensive parking tickets they have had to pay for causing very minor accidents. Since Missouri adopted a “no report” policy in 2009, the number of traffic citations issued in the state has decreased dramatically. That can only be a good thing, right? No one likes getting traffic tickets. What if you are in a car accident, though? What if you file a lawsuit against the other driver, suing for damages for the injuries you sustained in the accident? Does your lawsuit still have merit if it is related to an accident for which no tickets were issued?
What the “No Report Policy” Does and What It Does Not Do
The purpose of the no report policy was to reduce the amount of paperwork required for minor accidents; a minor accident is one in which no injuries resulted and the vehicle damage was minor enough that no one needed a tow truck. In other words, if both drivers can drive their cars away from the accident, then there is no requirement for the police officer to whom the accident was reported to file a police report.
Of course, how can you be sure that no one was injured? Not all injuries resulting from car accidents are visible. Some of them, such as whiplash and concussions, can take a few hours, or even a few days, before they start to show symptoms. In other words, the police might consider it a minor accident in which no one was injured, but you might actually have sustained injuries that require costly treatment. If the injuries are the result of the accident, and the accident is the result of the other driver’s negligence, then you could very well have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Present as Much Evidence as Possible
In car accident injury lawsuits, traffic tickets and police reports are useful pieces of evidence, but they are not the only ways you can document that you were injured and that the car accident was the cause of your injuries. (Incidentally, you cannot use a traffic ticket unrelated to the accident that causes your injuries as evidence that the defendant has a history of careless driving behavior.) Here are some other pieces of evidence you can use to build your case.
- Correspondence with the car insurance company and recordings of phone calls the drivers made to report the accident
- Photographs of the scene of the accident and of the damage sustained by the involved vehicles
- Records from the emergency room and from doctor’s office visits related to your injuries
Contact Walton Telken Foster Attorneys at Law If You’ve Suffered Car Accident Injuries
If you were injured in a car accident, you could have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact Walton Telken Foster Attorneys at Law to discuss your case in more detail.