You should contact the police anytime that you are in a car accident so that it will be recorded and they can gather all the necessary details and reports that you might need in the future when it comes to making a claim.
Even if the car accident isn’t very serious, you should still contact the police to notify them, and they will decide whether or not it is necessary to come out to the location where the accident took place.
For minor accidents, they might decide not to come out, but in some states, it is actually a legal requirement to contact the police after an accident. If you don’t, you could get into trouble, and it could affect the outcome if the case were severe enough to go to court.
Contacting the proper authorities is really important in order to protect yourself under the law. This will only benefit you if you decide to file a lawsuit against another driver.
Report All Accidents
As we have briefly touched on before, you will need to report any car accident, no matter how big or small it may have been. The same applies if there are only minor amounts of damage caused.
This is so that you can file an accident report, and the police can also help to verify the important details when it comes to making a claim or filing a lawsuit.
If you do not have the necessary reports, it will become your word against the other driver’s, unless there were any witnesses present. Essentially, contacting the police can only help your case.
Can You File a Police Report Days After an Accident?
Every state will have its own list of rules about when you will need to contact the police after an accident, but to stay on the safe side, you should contact them immediately after the accident.
If the accident was serious, you should always contact the police to file a report as it is even more important. You will need to check the specific laws of the state that you live in, but you should always contact the police as soon as you can after the accident.
If you were not aware that you needed to contact the police to file a report, you could contact them days after to do so if you feel it is necessary. However, depending on the state that you are in, they might not be able to do much about it. You can contact them to find out what your next steps should be.
Filing a Police Report
You should be aware that contacting the police does not mean that you are making an insurance claim. It just means that you are making the authorities aware of the situation so they can document all the relevant information that could be useful later on.
It is possible for the parties involved to come to a financial agreement themselves, without involving the police, but this is not a recommended route to take. You may be at risk if you decide to do this, and there is no way of knowing if the other party is sincere.
Filing an accident report will provide your insurance company with details that they can use to decide who was at fault for the accident, and it can be really beneficial for your case if you do decide to file a lawsuit against the other driver.
You should not leave the scene of the accident until the police have finished taking their report, and this report will help to protect you against any legal issues that may arise later on. The police can actually help submit the report to the DMV if you would like them to.
Documenting the Accident
In some states, the police are not required to come out to the scene of the accident if the accident itself is deemed to be minor with low damage costs. If this is the case, it will be left up to you to record any damage that has happened as a result of the accident.
You can ask the police what you need to do next, and they will be able to guide you in the right direction. Usually, this will involve taking pictures of the damage and taking all the details of the other person or people involved.
You can then use all of the information that you have gathered to file your own police report when you are ready. Be mindful that the information that you collect can be detrimental to deciding who is at fault for the accident.
Take pictures of every detail like dents and scratches, the placement of the two cars, the location you are in, and any car debris in the road. When filing your report, you should always be completely truthful while giving your version of events, and you should try to be as detailed as possible.
Claiming Through Insurance
Please be aware that filing a police report does not automatically mean that you are also claiming on your insurance. This is a process that you will need to do separately.
You do not need a police report to claim through your insurance, but you should still complete one anyway as it can still help you with the process. Ultimately, the insurance company will use all of the information given to decide who is at fault for the accident.
You can also decide to file a lawsuit if you feel that it is necessary.
Filing a police report can be a straightforward process that can save you time and effort in the future. Having a documented record of the accident filled with all of the important information is going to help you later down the line when it comes to making a claim or filing a lawsuit.
You should ideally report the accident straight away, especially if it is more serious, so they can send an officer to the scene for evaluation. Every state is different, but you might have to report the accident within 24 hours by law, so it is important to be aware of the specific laws in your state.
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