Legal Guide

When to Report an Accident to the Police

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle accident, it can be difficult to know when to report the accident to the police. Chances are, if you don’t report it right away, you’ll find yourself unclear on what should happen next. This is because in most cases, as soon as someone reports an incident of bodily injury or property damage over $1,000 (to include medical bills), there will likely be a police investigation. Without these police reports, there’s a lot less a car accident lawyer can do to help a person with the financial consequences. In short, you should report an accident to the police as soon as you realize there are injuries. But let’s look more into why.

Reporting accidents to the police can also be difficult if you or the other driver aren’t sure who’s at fault. The legal system isn’t there to determine who’s pain is worse, but it is there to determine the facts. You should report an auto accident that causes injury or property damage to any person or property in excess of $1,000 as soon as possible, even if you believe it was your fault. If you wait, it may be too late for law enforcement officials to gather valuable information for their investigation.

How Soon Should You Get Police On Scene?

Generally, you should report an auto accident to the police as soon as possible after it occurs. In cases where a serious injury or property damage occurs, you should contact the police immediately so they can begin an investigation. If you wait too long, you may run into legal issues that could determine if your case proceeds forward in court or if it gets dismissed.

If you are involved in a minor fender-bender, you’ve caused $1,000 or less in damage to property, and no one is hurt, there might be no legal requirement for you to stay at the scene and may leave immediately (depending on the jurisdiction of course). Should you cause damage to a person (such as a broken leg or personal injury), or damage to property of any value (regardless of whether anyone is injured), then your legal responsibility may be more complicated.

If you are involved in an accident, and you don’t think it was your fault, but another party did cause the accident, it is probably a good idea to call the police. This will help them confirm whether your report is accurate.

What Police Do On The Scene Of An Accident

The police will ask for your contact information when you report an accident. They’ll also want their own contact information. You should provide this to them without delay so they can begin their investigation and contact you if it could help them with their investigation.

The police will probably ask you for the name, address and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. You should provide this to them without delay so they can begin their investigation and contact any witnesses.

What Should You Do When Police Are On Scene

Cooperate with police. But gather information of your own if you can. You should try to collect information such as names, addresses and telephone numbers of other drivers involved in the accident and witnesses. You may want to write down the details surrounding your own actions before you were involved in an accident. Try not to talk with other drivers or get into arguments with them after an accident. If you start to argue with another driver, the police may later view this as an attempt by you to intimidate them. Police will be collecting the same information and more.

Most auto body shops and insurance companies want a police report. If you’re involved in an accident that results in damage to your vehicle other than scratches or dents, the owner will want a police report.

Tips For Reporting An Accident To The Police

Call The Police Immediately

If you’ve been injured and there is no damage to property or someone is not hurt, but you have been involved in an accident, try to call the police. You shouldn’t leave the scene of a minor collision, even if you believe it was your fault. Even minor accidents can escalate into serious situations and interfere with insurance claims.

File A Police Report

If you’ve been involved in a minor collision, do not wait for the police to contact you. If you suspect that another party was responsible for causing the accident and leaving the scene, file a police report immediately with your local police department.

File A Sworn Incident Report On Your Own

If there are facts relating to this accident that differ from what has been reported in your sworn statement, you may want to file an additional statement with your local police department or any other official agency involved.

Look For A Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been involved in any other kind of motor vehicle accident, contact an experienced car accident lawyer for advice. Your lawyer can advise you of your legal rights in each situation and let you know how the case is likely to play out in court or in a settlement.

It is good practice to keep a police record of any alleged accident. You could later need this information if you are involved in an accident or other legal difficulties.

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