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Do I Have to Inform Anyone of My Auto Accident?

The answer to this question will vary from state to state and on the nature of the accident. So, depending on where the accident took place and the extent of damage and injuries caused by the accident, you may have to file a report. There are thee organizations that you will likely have to file a report with. These organizations are listed below.

Filing a Report with the Police

Each state has different laws concerning whether it is necessary to file a police report in the event of an accident. You will usually be required to file a police report in the following situations: 

  • A person is injured
  • There is property damage that exceeds a certain value (often between $200 and $500)
  • There may also be variations in how to file the police report.  For example, you may file the report:
    • Over the phone
    • By going down to the police station
    • At the scene of the accident

The best advice may be to call the police if you are involved in an auto accident in order to find out the local practices on reporting an auto accident.

Filing a Report with your Insurance Company

Most insurance companies require you to promptly report all accidents you are involved in. Your insurance company will want to gather basic information about the accident and this may include recording your account of what happened. If anyone is injured or you believe your insurance company will tell you that you aren’t covered for the accident, consider speaking to a lawyer before providing a statement to your insurance company. But, be sure to provide the information you are required to provide promptly because if you take too long to provide this information it can result in you not being covered for the accident. These terms will be in your policy.

Filing a Report with the Department of Motor Vehicles

In some states, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) tracks auto accidents. In these states, you may be required to file a report with the DMV. While the requirements can vary from state to state, there are usually time limits within which the report must be filed.  Failure to file a report can result in loss of driving privileges, meaning you can lose your license. Again, if there is an injury in the accident, you may wish to speak to an attorney before filing this report.

I’ve Been Involved in an Auto Accident, Do I Need a Lawyer?

Anytime you are involved in an auto accident you should consult a lawyer as soon as possible. Insurance companies will often tell you that they will treat you fairly and that you don’t need a lawyer, but this is rarely true. An experienced auto accident lawyer can advise you of your rights, responsibilities, and any available remedies.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 10-15-2013 12:38 PM PDT

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