Should I Report my Car Accident?

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Any type of auto accident can be upsetting, even if it is only a minor fender bender.  If there are no injuries or damages to the vehicles, you and the other driver may choose to not report the accident.  However, some states require that a police report be filed if the damage to the vehicle exceeds a certain dollar amount.  Some states also require that a report be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  There may be more physical and medical damage discovered later that is not always apparent at the time of the accident.  When there are injuries to any party or damage to the vehicles involved, it is best to report the accident.  Filing a police report is an important step in making sure all the details of the car accident are properly documented.  This will provide your insurance company with a basis on how to handle your claim.  An accurate report of the crash will ensure that you are protected if any legal problems occur following the altercation.

Obtaining Important Information

Sometimes following an auto accident, both parties may decide they would rather handle the financial issues themselves rather than contacting their respective insurance companies.  It is still important to file a police report in case the other person changes their mind and decides to file a civil suit against you at a later time.

There are times when a police officer may not be available.  If you are in a situation where you are unable to file a police report immediately at the scene of the accident, then make sure you get all the information possible and document the events of the accident.  It is vitally important to get the names, addresses and phone numbers of everyone involved in the accident.  Make sure you get a license plate number, their insurance company information and the vehicle identification number of their car.  Most insurance companies only record the type of car and the vehicle identification number and not the license plate.  If the driver does not own the car involved, be sure to get the owner’s information as well.

If there are witnesses, obtain their contact information and write down their version of what happened at the scene.  If possible, take photos of the damaged vehicles and any injuries sustained by the parties involved.  You should also document everything that you remember about the accident as soon as possible because memories fade or may be hard to recall at a later date.

When to Talk to a Lawyer

If you are involved in an auto accident and find yourself facing legal problems in the aftermath of the crash, you may want to consult with an auto accident attorney for advice.  They can provide guidance on the best way to proceed in these types of situations.