Should I Get a Police Report After an Accident?
There are certain situations where you must report a motor vehicle accident to the police. If you don’t, you can still make an ICBC claim. However, our ICBC claims lawyers will need to rely on other evidence to prove your case.
When should I report a motor vehicle accident to the police?
You are required to contact the police at the scene of a motor vehicle accident if:
- Someone has been fatally wounded
- Someone has been seriously injured
- It’s a hit and run
- It involves a criminal offence – for example, you suspect the other driver is impaired by alcohol or drugs
- There has been damage to private or public property
- Your vehicle has sustained more than $10,000 worth of damage
Previously, police officers in British Columbia had to write reports for all property-damage-only (PDO) collisions, if the estimated damage was $1,000 or more. This threshold was raised in March 2019 to $10,000.
If you’re not sure whether any of the above apply, it’s better to err on the side of caution and call the police anyway. The police can then decide whether to attend or not. Even if they choose not to, you have at least fulfilled your obligation to notify the authorities.
Police reports when making an ICBC claim
Even if you’re not required to report an accident to the police, it can still be beneficial to get a police report. That way, if you go on to make an ICBC compensation claim, you can rely on the police report as evidence.
When the police attend the scene of a motor vehicle accident, they will work to establish exactly what happened. They’ll talk to you, the other driver and any witnesses who saw the accident. Then, they’ll write an impartial report.
Courts and tribunals place significant weight on these police reports. If you’re claiming that the other driver was at fault for the accident – and the police report corroborates this – it will help to prove your case.
If you don’t have a police report, you can still make an ICBC claim. However, we’ll need to find other supporting evidence, such a camera footage, photos and witness statements.
Reporting the accident to ICBC
Note that you should always report a motor vehicle accident to ICBC, no matter how minor the incident. You have 24 to 48 hours to do this. Before you speak to ICBC, contact us for advice. If the accident wasn’t your fault, we can file a claim with ICBC on your behalf.