Reporting a Car Accident to the Police

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

Becoming involved in a car accident is never a pleasant experience. No matter who was at fault for the accident, the first thing you need to do is make a full report to the police about the incident and your involvement in it. This helps establish your willingness to comply with the law, and places your case in a better light before the court. Even if the damage from the accident is minor, it is better to file a report in case there were some physical or emotional complications from the accident that were to come to light at a later date and bring your involvement in the accident before the attention of the police.

A police report should not be mistaken for a damages claim for the accident. The report merely serves as a legal record of the incident which comes into use later especially when the trial is held in connection to the accident. If the accident was minor, you can go to the police station yourself to make your statement.

If the accident was severe, the police will arrive at the scene themselves and take your statement. Few people feel completely normal after an accident, and most are shaken and unable to function at their best capacity. In such a case, the police can help you get medical assistance and spot any potential problems relating to the accident that you may have missed. Third party problems relating to any people standing by who were affected by the accident are also handled by the police.

Filing the report will also help provide you with an airtight alibi for your talks with your insurance company when they are deciding whether or not they need to pay you for the incurred damages. The police will file the accident report at the scene of the accident itself and later transfers a copy to the DMV if needed. Make sure you don’t leave the scene of the incident until the full report has been filed. Find evidence to back up your statements in front of the police. The evidence can include testimony from passersby, any photos you can take of the scene of the accident, the state of the involved vehicles, the state of the road and nearby landmarks which can help identify the location. 

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