Do You Have to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident?
By Chris Dixon
If you are involved in a car accident, you should call the police and file an official police report. Even if you think that damage from the accident is minor or nonexistent, calling the police after a minor car accident and a car accident lawyer are your best defenses against a potential lawsuit from the other driver later on down the line.
Why is it Important to Call the Police After a Minor Car Accident?
If a minor car accident is not reported to the police, over time, details from the accident can be twisted or misconstrued. By calling the police after a minor car accident, you are making sure that evidence from the accident is accurately documented. Responding officers will photograph the scene of the accident, speak to witnesses and take down reports from any drivers that are involved in the accident to include in an official police report. A police report is a powerful element from cases that has the power to prove ‘fault’ and greatly impact insurance claims. Even if you think that the accident was not severe enough to file a claim with your insurance company, it is important to make sure that you are doing everything in your power to document the incident so that you can be protected from a potential lawsuit.
What Should I Do After a Minor Car Accident?
There are quite a few steps that should be taken after a minor car accident in addition to calling the police. After an accident, you need to:
- Document the scene of the accident yourself, including any vehicle damage or injuries. Even if you think that your damage or injuries are minor or will heal up later on, they should be documented.
- Road marks, debris and license plates need to be documented. If you end up filing a car accident claim later on for the accident, these are powerful pieces of evidence that can be used by your car accident attorney.
- Again, even if you think that a car accident is minor, make sure that all of your bases are covered. Swap contact information with other drivers, any witnesses and other people that may be helpful later on if a car accident claim is filed (either by you or the other driver).
- Speaking with a car accident lawyer can be helpful even if you do not plan on filing a car accident claim. A lawyer can help you decide if the car accident was indeed minor, or if you should file a car accident claim for damages or injuries.
Risks of Not Calling the Police After a Minor Car Accident
Unreported car accidents, regardless of their severity, can make a reappearance long after they happen. Even if a car accident is not reported to police at the time of the accident, victims have a period of time after the accident where they can still file a car accident report. The amount of time that victims have to report injuries varies from state to state and is dependent on the state’s Statute of Limitations. Some states only allow for car accident victims to file a report or claim up to a year after the accident, but others give victims as long as six years after the accident. Statute of Limitation laws are in place to prevent the deterioration of evidence and limit the amount of false car accident claims from being made. Calling the police after a minor car accident is important so if a car accident claim is made later on by the other driver involved, accurate evidence from the accident can be used as opposed to their personal recount of the accident against yours.
Consult with a Lawyer Immediately After a Minor Car Accident
If you are involved in a minor car accident, it’s your lawyer’s job to make sure that you are:
- Fully informed about the details of your specific case. They will make sure that you understand what your rights are, that you have substantial evidence that documents what happened in the car accident and if the other driver decides to file a car accident claim, your lawyer will have a plan of action.
- Protected against the other driver’s insurance company. Your lawyer will handle the other driver’s insurance company if the other driver decides to file a car accident claim and make sure that you receive any damages that you may be entitled to.
- Not stressed out by your case. An experienced car accident lawyer saves you from the hassle and stress of dealing with a potential car accident case yourself, speaking to insurance companies, negotiating with the other driver and potentially settling for less than your car accident claim deserves.
Car accidents can be expensive and difficult to deal with, but they don’t have to be. After calling the police after a minor car accident, documenting the scene and swapping information with the negligent driver, consult with a local lawyer to make sure that you are protected if the other driver decides to file a car accident claim or lawsuit against you. If you are ready to learn about your state’s traffic laws, Statute of Limitations and the potential outcome of your minor car accident, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to begin discussing your car accident case with our experienced personal injury attorneys.