Cops and Crashes: Do You Need to File a Police Report After an Accident?

Each year, millions of people are involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, they are one of the most common events to occur on our nation’s roadways. If you have been in a car accident, there is a certain set of actions that you should be taking to ensure your safety, financial integrity, and legal liability. Many people often wonder if it’s always necessary to get police involved. Failing to follow these steps as outlined by law enforcement could create a very difficult situation in which your liability is increased or you find yourself in violation of the law.

One of the most common mistakes that are made after a car accident is failing to contact local authorities. In most places, it is the law to contact the police department within 24 hours of a car accident if the damages that are resulting from the accident total over $1000. If you don’t know the exact amount of the damage, it would still be wise to contact the local police department.

Is It Required?

In most cases, it is absolutely required to file a police report following an accident. To be on the safe side, you should file a police report regardless of the amount of damage that occurs from the accident and the police will determine whether to continue the investigation.  It is important to remember that while a car accident is a highly stressful time and you might be frightened about your role in the accident, it is better for the long-term to be forthcoming with information about the accident to the police and give them the full story of what occurred. 

Why Report?

If you are wondering why you should report an accident to the local police regardless of the damage, there are some very good reasons. Here are some of the reasons that you should report your accident to the local authorities. 

Damage Over $1000

The main reason that you should report a car accident to the authorities is that in many places, it is absolutely required for any accident that involves over $1000 in damage. Failing to report an accident that meets this threshold would be illegal and that is not a realm that you should want to step into. Failing to do this will only worsen the situation. 

Future Claims

Another reason that it is in your best interest to file a report immediately after an accident is that you might need that record to file any claims if you have lost money due to medical bills or lost wages. Without this paperwork and proof of the accident, that will be very hard to gain. 

Record on Paper

Finally, you not only want to put the accident on paper to allow yourself to regain lost money, but also to prevent yourself from being sued. With an official record on paper in an accident that wasn’t your fault, it’s best to have as much evidence as possible to prove that. You can do this by reporting the accident and ensuring that authorities know about it and get the full story.