The answer to this question will vary from state to state and on the nature of the accident. Depending on where the accident took place and the extent of damage and injuries caused by the car accident, you may have to file a report. There are three organizations that you will likely have to file a report with. These organizations are:
1. 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 $1,000;
- There is property damage to property other than yours; and/or
- The other driver who hit you is intoxicated or committed a crime.
Sometimes it is smart to report an accident with the police because they can come and get a statement of witnesses and file a police report with all relevant information. This will help your claim on a later date.
2. 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.
3. 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.
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What Steps Should I Take After an Auto Accident?
If you are involved in an auto accident there are some steps that are important to take for your safety and for your auto accident claim:
- Cautionary Steps
- Check for injuries and immediately call an ambulance if you or someone else is hurt.
- If possible, move your car to a safe place off the road.
- Use your vehicle’s hazard lights, warning triangles, and flares.
- Take pictures of all vehicles involved
- Take pictures of all property damage
- Try to write down as much information such as the following:
- Driver and passenger names
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- Makes and models of all vehicles involved
- Contact info for any witnesses
- Location of the accident
- The name and badge number of any responding police officers
- File a Report with the Police and your insurance company
- Seek medical attention to see if you suffer from any injuries that are not present on your body at the time of the accident, but can come appear couple days after the accident
Do I Need a Lawyer for an Auto Accident?
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 obtaining a experience auto accident lawyer is beneficial in many ways. An experienced auto accident lawyer can advise you of your rights, responsibilities, and any available remedies following your accident. To address your concerns and any post-accident disputes, it may be necessary to retain your own personal attorney.
A qualified personal injury attorney may prevent you from agreeing to an inferior settlement, save you from giving up your rights, and deter the other driver’s insurance company from collecting information that could be later used against you.