Some of the most common car accidents are minor “steering” that don’t cause injury. These accidents can happen in parking lots when cars are backing out of a parking space or when driving at an intersection when you are trying to stop for a red light. Maybe you miscalculated your stopping distance and “hit” the rear bumper of the car in front.
These accidents usually do not cause injury to the driver or passengers. However, collisions can still cause minor property damage to a car, whether it’s dented bumpers or fenders, or scratches and scuffs in the paintwork.
In those situations, the question is often asked, “Do I need to report this type of accident?” There are two entities to which you can report accidents, and different considerations apply to each. Read on to learn more.
Do You Need to Report an Accident to Law Enforcement?
The answer to this question largely depends not only on the facts and circumstances of the particular accident, but also on the state you live in.
Many states require you to report any accident that involves an injury. Even for accidents involving only vehicle damage, some states still require motorists to report an accident if the damage is over a certain amount, usually $1,000 or $2,500. dollars.
At the scene of an accident, one of the most important things to do is exchange contact information with the other driver and also obtain the other driver’s insurance information. Every state requires drivers to exchange this type of information if they have been in an accident.
If the other driver is uncooperative or if you have reason to believe that the other driver is uninsured, you should ask for the involvement of law enforcement at the scene of the accident to help you get this information. Depending on the location of the accident, law enforcement could be the city police, the county sheriff, or the highway patrol.
Even if the other driver cooperates, there can still be a good-faith dispute between you and the other driver about the cause of the accident. In that case, you should also ask for the assistance of law enforcement. This will provide the coroner the opportunity to record interviews with drivers and witnesses, and allow staff to document the circumstances of any physical evidence at the scene, such as a car crash. slip or debris.
Another reason to contact the police at the time of the accident is because of possible injury. At the scene of the accident, or shortly after, you can believe you were not injured. You might as well have said the same thing to the other driver. However, many injuries do not become apparent until days or weeks after the accident. If you do not immediately contact law enforcement to report the accident and one day later find out that you were actually injured, the other driver may assume the accident never happened. out. Without a law enforcement investigation into the crash, it’s just your word against another driver.
If the accident occurs in inclement weather, your call to 911 or local law enforcement may be responded to with instructions stating that, if no injuries are involved, law enforcement Local law may not be able to respond to your accident scene due to other emergencies due to weather conditions. In that situation, nearby convenience stores or gas stations often have accident reporting forms that you and the other driver can complete and then mail to law enforcement. local.
Report an Accident to your Insurance Company
People involved in minor crashes often try to avoid reporting these types of accidents to their insurance company for two reasons:
- the driver assumes that his insurance rate will increase, and
- the driver assumes that things can be “resolved” with the other driver without involving the insurance companies.
It is important to understand that every auto insurance policy in the country requires policyholders to immediately report any accidents they are involved in. Failure to report an accident to your insurance company can lead to serious complications or penalties.
Assuming you agree with the other driver at the scene of the accident that you’ll just “work things out” and not file an insurance claim (which is a bad idea, by the way), what happens? What if the other driver got home and realized the damage was more serious than she first believed? Or, is it possible that injuries later appeared that were not apparent at the scene of the accident?
If, after a few weeks or months, the other driver claims for damage to the vehicle goes unnoticed, or an injury has occurred, your insurance company may deny some protections. certain for you because you did not promptly notify the accident. So trying to avoid increasing your premium could lead to even bigger monetary losses.
The only time it may be reasonable to avoid reporting an accident to the insurance company is if the accident occurs on your vehicle, on your property, there are no injuries involved and the only damage is property. property that you own. Say you back into the garage door or scrape the fence next to your driveway. In that situation, there is no dispute with others about the accidental fault and there is no possibility of a dispute over repair costs.
Learn more: Contact Your Auto Insurance Agent After a Car Accident.
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