Reporting a Car Accident to the Police
In minor car collisions, they’re ideally no-fuss. After the accident, there will be a quick exchange of contact numbers, insurance information, and other key details, and then that’s it. Drivers involved in the accident will let their respective insurance providers handle these matters. How convenient, don’t you think? So you might wonder, is there a need to call the police?
Actually, yes, parties involved in a car accident may still need to contact law enforcement officers. No matter how minor the accident was, you’ll still need to secure a police report on the collision. Truth be told, reporting the matter to the police will save you from the hassle later on.
While reporting to the police is imperative, what’s optional is informing the insurance provider. Parties to the accident may dispense with the intervention of the insurance companies. For instance, they may opt to have their respective damage repaired out of their own pockets.
The Importance of Securing a Police Report
A police report covers the circumstances surrounding the accident. With this document, it negates the likelihood of creating assumptions as to what happened. Thus, in the event of a legal action for recovery of damages, it effectively eliminates disputes on the turn of events.
It becomes easier to seek compensation because the police report can strengthen the case. Whether the car accident is a major or minor one, it is best to secure this piece of paper.
This unbiased account of the accident contains the following information:
- Names of the parties involved,
- Injuries sustained by the parties, if any,
- Damage to the vehicles involved,
- Time, date and place of the accident, and
- Statements of witnesses.
Here are tips when reporting a car accident to police officers.
Call 911 Immediately
If you’re involved or witnessed a car accident (especially a major, catastrophic one), the first thing you need to do is call 911. Do this even if there are no apparent injuries or damage. The purpose is to let the police officers ascertain the circumstances and write a report on the incident.
There will be an investigation as soon as the police officers will arrive. Searching questions will likely focus on who or what caused the accident and how.
Law enforcement officers will also want to obtain the personal and contact information of the involved drivers and passengers, if any. The police, however, will focus more on the driver; whether there was a likelihood that he or she drove under the influence.
Witness on the scene as well as injured bystanders will also be requested to give their personal and contact information. Statements will also be obtained.
Based on the investigation, the police officers responding at the scene will make the report.
What If There Are No Police Officers at the Scene
There may be instances when police officers don’t respond at the scene of the accident. Thus, you may need to file your own report to the police as soon as possible. In support of your narrative, taking photos and/or videos that cover all angles is highly recommended.
Collect as much evidence as may be available and necessary in support of your side of the story. This may be needed as it is not uncommon for the party at fault to change their story to evade liability.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
To cover your bases, seek legal representation from an experienced car accident lawyer. With his or her help, you can ensure that your interests and rights are protected during your action to obtain compensation for damages.