Should You Always Call the Police After a Crash?
WLF Car Accident Lawyer Explores This Question
Being involved in a car crash can be stressful, if not downright scary. If the other driver was at fault and if you are injured or your car is damaged, then your first impulse will be to call the police and a car accident lawyer. On the other hand, the driver that caused the accident will want to avoid dealing with the police. Should you always call the police after the car crash? The answer depends on the severity of injuries and extent of damages.
The police will respond to a crash immediately if they are called, but it may not always be necessary to call them. For minor damages, such as a few scratches or small dents, the involved drivers can come to a mutually satisfactory agreement for compensation and share their insurance information. But you must file a report with the police before you can file an insurance claim for damages.
If there are fatalities, then you must call the police immediately because failing to call the police can land you in serious legal trouble even if you didn’t cause the accident. You should also call the police if there were severe damages to your car and/or injuries requiring medical attention. Without a police report, your personal injury claim will not have much of a chance for success.
Immediately after an accident, you should assess the situation. If the accident is minor, you should safely move the vehicles to the side of the road and switch on hazard lights to alert oncoming cars about the accident. If serious injuries or vehicle damages are involved, it is best to leave the vehicles where they’re at. Check yourself and other occupants of the car for injuries. You should then check the driver and occupants of the other car for injuries. If anyone is injured, call the police and ambulance immediately. If you are incapacitated, then have someone do it.
Check the cars to determine the extent of damages. Minor dents and scratches do not require police involvement unless there is a major disagreement between you and the other driver. But if the value of the damage is above $1,000, you should call the police to report the accident.
When calling the police, keep calm and tell them that you have been in an accident. Give the police your name and the exact location of the accident. Answer all questions you are asked calmly and politely.
While the police are on the way, write down the name, address and contact details of the other driver. Do not forget to note the car’s make, model and license plate number, the driver’s license number, and the name and phone number of his insurance company. You will need these when filing your personal injury claim.
Before leaving the accident scene, take photographs of the scene with your cellphone camera or a digital camera. If you are incapacitated by your injury, then ask someone to take the photographs. When taking photographs, focus on the injuries and damages, but do not forget to take pictures of the entire accident scene as well.
When the police arrive, do not tell them that you were at fault, even if you think that you were. Do not tell them it was the other driver’s fault either. Just tell them the facts as they happened. Honesty is the best policy when it comes to car accident cases. If you are found to be lying, your credibility will be questioned when you make a claim.
Answer all questions asked by the police politely and honestly. While answering questions, you should also get some important information from the police officer, including his name, badge or ID number, cellphone number and the accident report number. You will need the report number to access the police report. Once you are done with the police, contact a qualified car accident lawyer without any delay.