Auto Accidents Tips: What Steps to Take When Reporting a Car Incident

Accidents happen every day, and while you may think this can never happen to you, one day may come when you will be involved in a traffic incident. There are a few things to keep in mind, even in the rush of the moment. One of them is who do you notify regarding the accident? The below tips will give you a few hints.

It all depends on how serious the traffic incident is. Generally, however, if you get into an auto accident, there are three entities that you might need to report  it to: your insurance company, the police and the local Department for Motor Vehicles. And while you are at it, notify your certified auto accidents attorney.

Should I call the police immediately?

Usually, the call to the police must go from the accident scene. In many US states, the law requires the police to be informed, especially when a traffic incident causes either property damage  (in excess of $500) or personal injury. This is why it is best to never take a chance with these issues. Especially if you, or someone else involved in the auto accident seems injured, call the police as soon as possible. If you notice visible damage to your car, or other car involved, call the police as well.

When the police come, they will ask you what happened. You will undoubtedly have some time to wait before the police arrive. Make sure to use that time to review in your own mind how you believe the accident happened.  Try and answer in an accurate and honest way, when a police officer will answer your questions.

What is my next step?

The next step would be to report the accident to your insurance company immediately. If you cannot do it asap, try to be no later than 24 hours. You may lose money on this, as every insurance policy has a requirement that the insured needs to cooperate with the insurer and report any incident.

Don’t take a chance on this and it is best not to wait.  If you get into a car accident, call your insurance company that day — or the next day — at the latest and tell them exactly what happened.

Another important requirement is honesty. If you will falsely report the facts, your insurer could deny coverage for the accident. Depending on the severity of the incident, your insurance company might want to take its own pictures of your car. Keep your insurance company informed about when you are getting your car fixed so that it can take pictures of your car if it wants to.

Should I file a report with a state agency?

Several US states require that the report be filed with the state Department of Motor Vehicles; other states require that the report be filed with the local police department, or with the police department and the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you are not sure on your particular local circumstances, it is best to ask your accidents attorney and they will tell you what to do.

The report usually has to be filed within a short period of time, generally ten days or two weeks. If you cannot figure out whether your state’s law requires you to file an accident report, you should ask your insurance company or inquire at your local police station. You can most likely get a copy of the report form at your local police station or online at your Department of Motor Vehicles website.