If you are in a multi-car accident on a busy highway, calling the police is a no-brainer. They can direct traffic and make sure nobody else slams into you.
But what should you do after a less serious accident? Is it always necessary to call the cops? The answer is yes.
Even if you are in a minor fender bender in the mall parking lot, it is important to report your accident to the police. The most important reason is for safety sake. You may not be on a busy highway, but the scene of your accident could still pose a hazard to other motorists. The police will secure the area, and if necessary, call in a hazmat team to clean up spilled liquids and broken glass.
Being in an accident can also be so upsetting that you don’t realize you or another person involved has been injured. You may be distracted or in a state of shock and not realize an ambulance should be called. The police are trained to assess an accident and call in medical support if needed.
Police Reports are Important Evidence
It is also important to call the police so that an official, unbiased record of the accident will be created. This report is often the most valuable piece of evidence when it comes time to negotiate a settlement with your insurance company or file a lawsuit against the other driver.
Most police reports contain the following information:
- The date, time, and location of the accident.
- Contact information and insurance information for all of the people involved in the accident.
- The names and contact information of witnesses.
- A summary of the statements provided by the parties and the witnesses.
- Information about the scene of the accident – including the condition of the road, the weather, and the lighting in the area.
- A description of the damage done to the vehicles involved in the accident.
- Information about any tickets or warnings given out.
If you get lucky, the report will also include:
- A diagram of the accident.
- Pictures of the scene and the damage.
- The officer’s opinion on who was at fault.
A police report is a key piece of evidence in every accident case, and if you don’t call the cops, you won’t get a report.
Not Every Driver is Trustworthy
If the other driver insists that you should not bother calling the police, you should be suspicious.
What are they trying to hide? Are they drunk? Did they let their insurance expire? Are they hiding some sort of contraband in their trunk?
Even if the other driver gives you all of their contact information and allows you to take a picture of their insurance card and license plates, you should still call the police and make a formal report.
It’s the Law
In Texas, as in many other states, reporting your accident to the government is required by law. The police will forward any accident report they write up to the state Department of Transportation so you don’t have to worry about doing any extra paperwork.
If you don’t report your accident to the police, you are responsible for filling out a crash report form. Failure to do so could result in a license suspension or fine.
Don’t risk your safety, your license, or losing out on the compensation you deserve. Report every car accident to the police, no matter how minor it may seem.