Do You Need To Call the Police If You’re in an Auto Accident?
Auto Accident Lawyer
You’ve just been involved in an auto accident. You and the occupants of the other vehicle are understandably shaken up, you’re not sure how bad the damage is, and you may not be sure what to do next. At times like these, it’s important not to panic and understand the best course of action. Deciding whether to call the police is one of the first things you should determine.
Know Your State’s Laws
Different rules apply depending on the state in which the accident takes place. Usually, whether or not you call the police depends on the extent of the damage, if anyone was hurt during the incident, and if the accident was a result of a legal violation such as running a red light or driving while intoxicated. If the extent of the damage was substantial and people are injured, you should always call 911. This is also the right thing to do if the other driver is uncooperative.
If you are unsure whether it is appropriate to call the police, it is prudent to call 911 and speak with dispatch to get advice on what to do next.
Remember What To Do Next
Whether you choose to involve the police or not, there are some things you should do. First, if possible and if no one is injured, move the vehicles involved to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic. If, however, someone is injured, do not attempt to move the vehicle, as this can potentially make injuries worse as well as leave you liable for damages. Keep both yourself and your vehicle out of the way of traffic. Make sure you collect the following pieces of information from the other driver:
- License plate number
- Contact information
- Driver’s license number
- Insurance details
If the other driver claims to not have insurance, it is especially prudent to call the police. There is the possibility that he or she is not being truthful with you.
Understand What To Expect From the Police
If police action is deemed appropriate, when the officers arrive, they will assess the situation and take down their own information. This can be helpful for insurance purposes. It is thus practical to ask for a copy of the police report in case you decide to file a claim.
In any auto accident, it’s important to understand the laws in your state and what the proper procedures are. If you’re ever in such a situation, come prepared with the knowledge of the relevant laws and what to do next. Afterwards, speak to a car accident lawyer to understand your responsibilities and what compensation you may be owed.