Should I Report A Car Accident To Police?
Did you know that if you began driving at the age of sixteen, you are more likely to have had your first accident before the age of thirty-four or have up to four accidents over the course of your life?
While your first, second, and consecutive crashes may not be fatal or cause significant injury to you or anyone else, accidents can be scary and confounding and knowing whether or not to file a police report well before an accident occurs is always a good idea. Bear in mind that each state in the U.S has unique rules about when a report must be filed.
For example, some states require that an accident report is filed when an accident results in death, personal injury or property damage, others on the other hand only require individuals to report a car accident if someone was injured or if there was more than $1,000 in property damage. Notwithstanding the legal requirements, the one and only advice that road users should apply is to always file a police report regardless of the damages.
It’s important to remember that in cases where law enforcement is not involved, it can be your word against the other driver, nevertheless, there are cases where you may not need to file a police report. In such cases, the more accurate questions to ask yourself are:
How minor are the damages to the vehicles involved?
- Are there any personal injuries to your or the other driver?
- Is everyone involved properly licensed and fully insured?
- Are both drivers in agreement not to file a police report?
It is not uncommon to see individuals involved in a seemingly minor accident and the driver at fault attempts to pay cash so that the crash goes unreported. Granted, not everybody wants to file an insurance claim or see their car insurance premiums go up, failure to involve the police or notify your insurance company may end up costing you more.
As a victim of a major or minor car accident, you should avoid accepting a cash settlement at the accident scene for the following reasons:
- Car damages, even if they appear minimal, can end up costing you up to thousands of dollars sometimes in out-of-pocket fees to fix and get your car in working order
- You may lose your No-Fault Medical Reimbursements
- Your bodily injuries may turn out to be severe than you think and result in missed work or expensive medical bills in the future
- You may be denied your Mini Tot if you have no way of evidencing who was at fault for the collision
Keep in mind too that while you generally have one year to file an application for benefits with your own auto insurance company, it’s imperative to act swiftly (within the statute of limitations window) to seek compensation for your damages or to bring a lawsuit against another party for negligence.