Traffic accidents can be extremely dangerous. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that 11 semi truck accidents occur every day. Over half of all traffic deaths happen to individuals ages 15-44, and though motorcycle riders can prevent 37% of rider deaths and 41% of passenger deaths, many crashes still result in fatalities.
This means that it’s tempting to downplay minor fender benders, especially when no injuries are involved. It’s tempting to just wave the issue aside and keep driving, and plenty of people do. So are you ever required to report an accident?
This can depend largely on where you live. Different states have different requirements for when you need to report. Some states require any accident that causes an injury to be reported, and others require vehicular damage over a certain amount, often $1,000-$2,500, even if there are no injuries.
One thing you’re required to do, no matter what state you’re in, is exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. If the other driver doesn’t cooperate, you can call in local law enforcement to help you. You should also call law enforcement if you can’t agree on who caused the crash, so they can investigate and document the scene.
This will be especially important if you have to take your case to a car accident attorney or personal injury lawyer. Your car accident attorney always benefits from documented evidence that proves things happened the way you say they did. Having police records will insure that your auto accident lawyer has the best chance to get you the compensation you deserve.
Another reason that many people don’t report accidents is fear that insurance rates will go up, or a belief that the drivers can work it out without insurance companies. However, failing to report an accident to your insurance company immediately can land you in hot water down the road. If injuries or damages turn out to be more severe than they seemed initially, your insurance company may penalize you for reporting an accident late.
However, you usually don’t have to contact your insurance company if you got into a minor accident with your vehicle on your property, like if you back into the mailbox and scrape your bumper.
Contact a car accident attorney or personal injury attorney near you if you’re not sure how to proceed with your accident.