If you’re involved in any car accident with damage or injury in Louisiana, you must follow the law and report the car accident to law enforcement, your insurance company, or both. If there’s injury or property damage in the accident, you, by law, must report the collision to your car insurance company. Louisiana has some very specific laws regarding the reporting of a car accident, and under most certain circumstances, not reporting a motor vehicle accident is against the law.
Louisiana Car Accident Reporting Law
Under Louisiana law, you are required to file a report with the local police station if the accident results in injury, death, or property damage over $500. In situations where the accident results in injury, death or property damage over $100, a written report of the accident also must be forwarded to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (the “DPSC”).
Failure to file the appropriate report with the DPSC within the appropriate timeframe may result in a fine of up to $100 or up to 60 days imprisonment.
The report filed with the DPSC must include the following:
- Name, address, driver’s license or permit number of all drivers involved in the car accident
- All relevant insurance information for all drivers involved in the accident
- Registration numbers and license plate numbers of any vehicles involved in the accident or damaged as a result of the accident
- As much information about the accident as possible including weather and road conditions, time of day, location, and any other information that may prove helpful in determining who was at fault in the car accident.
Once law enforcement concludes its investigation into your car accident, the responding officer must forward his written report to the DPSC within 48 hours. Those who are named in the official report may request copies of the crash report, but this may require a small fee.
Why It’s Beneficial to File a Car Accident Report
Nothing good will come of you not filing a car accident report. Reporting a car accident creates legal documentation that the accident occurred, and the legal documentation will include the necessary information should a personal injury claim or lawsuit ensue.
If any injuries occur in the car accident, it’s imperative to seek medical help right away. If you wait too long to see a doctor, and you then later file a personal injury claim for damages related to the accident, the defendant could argue that you were not actually injured in the car accident because you waited so long to get medical help. By seeking medical help right after the accident, you will remove that defense.
You should also keep all of your medical records and all the information you have collected regarding the accident including any and all legal documents and official reports. Unlike some states, Louisiana law allows car accident victims to skip the insurance claims process and go straight to the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.
If you have questions about what car accident reports you need to file in Louisiana or if you have been in a car accident, please call us for a free claim evaluation.