Do I Need to File a Police Report After a Traffic Accident?

police accident report
Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham LLC Blog September 30, 2021

Do I Need to File a Police Report After a Traffic Accident?

There’s a lot to worry about after a car accident in the Quad Cities. You may have injuries that need treatment, your car may be significantly damaged, and you’ll need to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s). In the aftermath of a wreck, one of the things you might be wondering about is whether filing a police report after an accident is necessary. The answer to that question depends largely on where the accident occurred, how serious it was, and whether or not police officers responded to the scene.

The Difference Between Accident Reports and Police Reports

Before we go any further, let’s correct a common misconception about what an accident report is and is not. 

An accident report is a general report filed by a driver or other party involved in an accident. In Iowa, accident reports are filed with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Driver Services. In Illinois, accident reports are no longer filed with the Illinois DOT; they must be filed with Illinois State Police. 

A police report (or a police accident report) is a report made by a responding law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident. If a police officer responded to your car accident, they are responsible for writing and filing this report. You can request a copy of your police accident report for your own use from the responding police department or agency.

When Do I Need to File an Accident Report?

If the police were called to the scene of the traffic accident (whether by you, another driver, or a witness), you are not required to file a separate accident report. The police are responsible for taking this report and forwarding it to the appropriate agencies as required by state law. 

If a police officer did not respond to the scene of the accident, you may be required to file an accident report based on the following criteria.

Iowa Accident Reports

If you were in an accident in Iowa, you must file an accident report with the Iowa DOT if someone has been injured, killed, or there’s $1,000 or more in property damage. The accident report must be filed within 72 hours of the accident, or you could have your driver’s license suspended.

Illinois Accident Reports

If you were in an accident in Illinois, you must file an accident report with the local police department, sheriff’s office, or Illinois State Police if someone has been injured, killed, or there’s $1,500 or more in property damage. (This requirement is lowered to $500 or more in property damage if any of the involved drivers don’t have car insurance). The accident report must be filed within 10 days of the accident.

How Can I Get a Copy of My Police Accident Report?

If you were in a serious accident in the Quad Cities, there’s a good chance that law enforcement was called to the scene to investigate. The culmination of these investigations—that is, a police accident report—may contain crucial evidence regarding who is at fault for the accident and whose car insurance company should therefore be held responsible for damages. 

Obtaining a copy of the police accident report pertaining to your car, motorcycle, or large truck accident can help you and/or your personal injury attorney to build a successful case against the insurance company of the driver who hit you. This can help you maximize the amount of compensation available to you for expenses like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and beyond. Find out how to get a copy of your Quad Cities police accident report below.

Davenport Police Accident Reports

  • Request a copy of the police accident report online via BuyCrash. Each report costs $15. You’ll need to provide the state, jurisdiction, and one of the following in order to look up the report: the accident report number, your last name and the date of the accident, or your last name and the street the accident occurred on.
  • Visit the Davenport Records Bureau in person to request a copy of the report. The Records Bureau is open from Tuesday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is located at 416 N Harrison St, Davenport, IA 52801. For assistance, please call  563-326-7790.
  • If the Scott County Sheriff’s Office was the investigating agency, a copy of your police accident report can be obtained online at crashdocs.org, in person, or by mail from the Sheriff’s Office, located at 400 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA 52801-1104. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For assistance, please call 563-326-8719.
  • If the Iowa State Patrol responded to your traffic accident, you can view crash reports from the past 15 days online. After 15 days, reports are available at the Iowa State Patrol District Office, located at 22365 20th Ave., Stockton IA 52769. You can contact the office by phone at 563-284-9501.

Bettendorf Police Accident Reports

  • Visit the Bettendorf Police Department located at 1609 State St, Bettendorf, IA 52722 to obtain a copy of your crash report or contact the records division by calling 563-344-4027.
  • If the Scott County Sheriff’s Office was the investigating agency, a copy of your police accident report can be obtained online at crashdocs.org, in person, or by mail from the Sheriff’s Office, located at 400 W. 4th St., Davenport, IA 52801-1104. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For assistance, please call 563-326-8719.
  • If the Iowa State Patrol responded to your traffic accident, you can view crash reports from the past 15 days online. After 15 days, reports are available at the Iowa State Patrol District Office, located at 22365 20th Ave., Stockton IA 52769. You can contact the office by phone at 563-284-9501.

Moline Police Accident Reports

  • Request a copy of the police accident report online via BuyCrash. Each report costs $10. You’ll need to provide the state, jurisdiction, and one of the following in order to look up the report: the accident report number, your last name and the date of the accident, or your last name and the street the accident occurred on. Call the Moline Police Department at 309-797-0401 with questions.
  • If you were involved in a traffic accident investigated by the Illinois State Police (ISP), you can obtain a copy of your crash report from the ISP Patrol Records Unit for $5. If you have questions, call 217-785-0614.

East Moline Police Accident Reports

  • East Moline houses its police accident reports online via BuyCrash. Complete crash reports cost $13 per copy. 
  • You can request a free drivers exchange report (note: not the full crash report) in person at the East Moline Police Department, located at 915 16th Ave., East Moline, IL 61244. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Call 309-752-1555 with any questions.
  • If you were involved in a traffic accident investigated by the Illinois State Police (ISP), you can obtain a copy of your crash report from the ISP Patrol Records Unit for $5. If you have questions, call 217-785-0614.

Rock Island Police Accident Reports

  • Rock Island police accident reports can be accessed online through BuyCrash for $15. For more information, contact the Traffic Records Department by calling 309-732-2523.
  • If you were involved in a traffic accident investigated by the Illinois State Police (ISP), you can obtain a copy of your crash report from the ISP Patrol Records Unit for $5. If you’re not sure whether ISP or another agency responded to your accident, call 217-785-0614.

Get Legal Help After a Quad Cities Car Accident

If you or a loved one have been injured in a traffic accident in the Quad Cities area and isn’t sure what to do next, contact Winstein, Kavensky & Cunningham for a free, no-obligation consultation with our legal team. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will review the details of your accident at no charge and suggest the best course of action to maximize your accident settlement.

Our legal team is also available for home and hospital visits as well as evening and weekend appointments. In addition, should you decide to use our services, you won’t pay us any fees unless we obtain a financial recovery on your behalf. Call us today at (309) 794-1515, connect with one of our LiveChat agents, or send us a brief message by filling out this form

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.