Should I File a Police Report After a Car Accident in Tennessee?

police lights

If you’re injured in a car accident, you’ll have to take several steps to get yourself to safety and maximize your chances of winning a future personal injury claim. One of the most important steps you can take is obtaining a police report detailing the specifics of your car accident. Read on and contact a dedicated Memphis car accident lawyer to learn more.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

After a car accident, if possible, you should first move out of the way of traffic, but never leave the scene of the accident. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, and avoid apologizing to the other party in the car accident so that it won’t be construed as your accepting guilt. Exchange insurance and contact information with the other party. Importantly, you must also call 911. Not only will law enforcement ensure emergency medical services are sent to the scene to treat your injuries, but they will also write up a police report, which can serve as a crucial piece of evidence in a future personal injury claim.

When Is it Necessary to Make a Police Report for a Car Accident?

Under Tennessee law, drivers and vehicle owners must report a majority of accidents to the police. The specific conditions under which you must report a car accident are:

  • Someone was injured or killed,
  • There was property damage meeting or exceeding $50,
  • The accident occurred in a space where the law mandates all accidents be reported,
  • Your insurance policy obligates you to.

Sometimes, Tennesse law instructs you to specifically submit a written report. The written report is a necessity when:

  • Someone was injured or killed,
  • Property damage exceeds $1,500
  • State or local government property damage exceeds $400.

Ignoring the reporting requirement means risking license suspension. Furthermore, if you hope to file a claim for compensation, you will also need a police report. A law enforcement officer’s detailed recounting of the facts of the incident can play a critical role in satisfying the burden of proof in a personal injury claim.

How Do I File a Police Report for My Car Accident?

Filling a police report is a fairly simple process. First, you must submit the Owner/Driver Report form to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (see below). This form only requires information about yourself, your vehicle, and your insurance policy.

If you fall into one of the categories above, you need to submit your report within 20 days. You will have to print the reporting form and send it by mail to TDSHS

After you’ve submitted your report, you’ll be able to acquire a copy through a couple of ways.


You can request a copy of your report online, and it will only cost $10. You are allowed to pay with a credit card.

In Person

If you want to receive the report copy in person, you may go to the Tennessee Highway Patrol or whichever agency investigated the accident. The cost of the copy will be cheaper in person at $4.


Finally, you can send a request for a copy through the mail. You’ll mail your request to the TDSHS Financial Responsibility Division with a return address.