Following a car accident, you have a lot of quick decisions to make. You need to work with the other driver to get contact information and insurance information. You need to figure out what to do with your own car, whether it be towed or repaired, and you may want to contact the police.
However, is it always necessary to contact the police in the event of an accident? We have asked attorney, Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
When You Must Call
If anyone was hurt in the accident, you need to contact the police. The police will be able to ensure that medical assistance is provided for anyone injured at the scene of the accident. The same goes for if significant property damage has resulted from the car accident.
You will almost always need a police report when reporting significant property damage over the amount of $1,000, and you cannot do this without contacting the police first. In addition, if you believe that a crime has been committed, meaning you believe the other driver is intoxicated or could pose a harm to others, you should definitely contact the authorities.
Some states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire, require you by law to contact the police. If you happen to be driving in or live in one of those states, you will need to contact the police regardless of fault.
Do You Feel Threatened?
In some situations, you may simply want a third party, especially an authority figure, there with you. Emotions can run high when it comes to car accidents, and the other driver may feel justified in confronting you. He or she may put you in a position where you feel that your safety is in jeopardy.
If you feel that is the case, you are entitled to contact the police to help you in that situation.
Expediting the Process
Having the police at the scene of the accident can also speed the process along. You need to exchange contact information as well as insurance information. You also need detailed information regarding the scene of the accident, and these officers are trained in these high-stress situations.
Police Reports Help
If you feel that you will be making an insurance claim to cover property damage or any potential medical costs, a police report will go a long way. Many insurance companies will consider this type of evidence to be strong proof and will rely upon the officer’s recreation of the accident.
You may call the police to the scene of the accident, and they may not give you a report while on the scene. If that happens, all you will need to do is contact the police station following the accident and request the report. Without contacting the police as soon as the accident happened, you cannot go back and time and get that police report.
Some vital information is included in the police report, the most importantly being the accident recreation. You will want to have an accurate description of what happened and a description of what the damage to your vehicle was. Insurance companies are going to want to say that any damage you are reporting was not a result of the accident itself. If you do not have that authoritative description of the damage that resulted from the accident, they may be able to poke more holes in your story than you would like.
When It Is Not Necessary
However, calling the police is not always required. If you are driving along and tap the car in front of you, and you both agree that no damage resulted from the car accident, contacting the police is not necessary. Many times, police will also not make reports on accidents that happen on private property, such as someone backing into your car while in your driveway.
If the damage appears to be something you both feel comfortable handling or do not even think is significant enough to even need repair, calling the police is not always required.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a car accident and are not sure whether to involve the police, it is always recommended you contact an attorney today to discuss your case if you do not currently have a lawyer or have any questions.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company. To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.