If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a car accident here are some steps you need to take. Depending on how serious the accident was, these are the three entities you need to inform:
- The police
- Your insurance company
- The Department of Motor Vehicles in your state
However, you don’t have to report all car accidents. Here we try to discuss when to report an accident and to whom.
Should the police be called immediately?
That should be your first plan of action from the accident scene. In many states by law you have to inform the police after an accident if the extent of damage to both body and property exceeds $500 or $1,000 depending on the state. But in any case if anyone involved in the accident, like the driver or passengers of the other car, complains of pain, don’t take a chance and call up the police immediately so medical personnel can be summoned. The same applies to damage to either of the cars since most cases of damage will cost more than $1,000 to repair, depending on the severity of the crash, make and model of the car.
While you are waiting for the police to come review the details of the accident so that they are clear in your mind. When you are questioned, state the facts as clearly and honestly as you recall.
If it is not possible to call the police (neither of you have a cell phone on you), then exchange relevant details with the other driver. These would be names, contact numbers, addresses, driving license, insurance, and registration details. Visit the nearest police station as soon as you can and report the case or call them up when you return home and you can probably file a report using their website and your computer.
Inform Your Insurance Company about the Accident Immediately
Call your auto insurance company and inform them of the details of the accident. Do this immediately or within no more than a day after the accident. Every insurance policy insists that you extend full cooperation with your insurer. Failure to do so might result in the company denying you coverage. If you do not report your accident this might be viewed as non-cooperation.
Find out if You Need to File a Report with a State Agency
Every state has its own requirement. If the injury or damage is of a certain magnitude the state might need you to file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles as well. Consult an accident attorney as to the requirements of your state or the state where you had the accident and comply with local requirements.