Should I report my minor car accident?
Car accidents are rarely pleasant experiences. A car accident could leave drivers with massive amounts of property damage and major injuries if the wreck was severe enough. However, most car accidents are small fender benders that usually do not involve any person getting hurt. Minor accidents often occur in parking lots or at red lights when cars are not going fast.
Car accidents often leave drivers with two important questions: “Should local law enforcement get involved?” and “Should I tell my insurance company.”
Laws about minor car accidents
Laws about contacting police after your accident usually differ from state to state. State laws on the subject often involve one or more of the circumstances of the crash. For instance, some states require accident reports if any injuries occurred. Other parts of the country might require a report of the accident if the damages exceeded a certain amount.
One law that is uniform throughout all states is that drivers must exchange information after an accident. Just after the crash, it is imperative that all drivers involved exchange their contact details and their insurance information. Exchanging information with the other driver is the most important step of a fender bender.
Car Accident Attorney in Mobile
If the other driver does not wish to share information, or if they give you a reason to believe they do not have insurance, you should request that local law enforcement gets involved so that you may get the required information. The branch of law enforcement that arrives at the scene may be municipal police, highway patrol, or a county sheriff, depending on the location of the accident.
If you and the other driver do not agree to the cause of the crash, then it is a good idea to get law enforcement involved as well. Contacting them and having them come to the accident scene is the best way to ensure they the facts of the incident are sorted out. When they arrive, they can interview the drivers and witnesses and search for any major pieces of physical evidence like debris on the road. They can then record their findings to be used later if necessary.
It could be a good idea to contact local law enforcement regardless of the circumstances of the crash. Injuries can take some amount of time to manifest. They could become apparent weeks after the collision. You may feel fine at the crash, and you might even tell the other driver you are okay. But, you could still have a serious injury and not know it.
Always get a police report after an accident
If you seek to get paid the damages from your injury, a police report detailing the accident will help immensely. A proper police report keeps the other driver from denying the accident ever happened, and you are more likely to receive compensation for your injuries.
Law enforcement may not always be available to make it to the scene of minor accidents. If circumstances in the area are causing major emergencies, law enforcement might have too little time to stop and research a small car crash. This fact is especially true if the accident resulted in no injuries. In that situation, local gas stations and convenience stores often have accident report forms. You and the other drivers of the crash can fill these forms out and then mail them in.
Contact insurance following an accident
People in accidents are often apprehensive about contacting their insurance company. They are worried that their insurance rates will increase and they are hopeful that they and the other driver can come to a solution without the insurance company’s involvement. However, every insurance policy requires drivers to report any accident. Failing to inform your insurance company can result in harsher penalties in the future.
For example, you and another driver decide to avoid contacting the insurance company after an accident. The other driver then goes home and finds their vehicle is more damaged then they believed, or they have an injury show up weeks later. They then make a claim for those damages sometime after the accident. Your insurance company might not pay for those costs because you failed to report the accident. That means you will be paying for the new damage that has arisen out of pocket. These costs will likely be more expensive than the rate increase would have been.
The only time it is acceptable not to inform your insurance company is if no one else was involved in the accident. That means the accident involved your car causing damage to your property. In that scenario, there is no discussion about the reasons for the crash and no one to dispute with over the cost of repairs.
If you have recently been involved in a car accident, you might need a car accident attorney in Mobile to protect yourself from any potential future claims from the other driver. Call the personal injury attorneys at Clay, Massey & Associates at 251-433-1000 for a FREE consultation, or click the Live Chat link on our website 24/7!