There seems to be an uncertainty that envelopes the aftermath of a car accident. People are shook and unaware of the protocol for reporting the incident or receiving assistance. Too often, the process of accident response is ignored or brushed over rather than being drilled into the brains of learning or inexperienced motorists, leading to confusion and stress after a collision.
One question that often comes up is whether the incident requires police assistance. As a car accident attorney from Newark, NJ from a firm like Rispoli & Borneo can explain, there are a few occasions when a police officer might not need to report to a scene, but it is likely always best to contact dispatch and ask.
Damages are Minor With No Physical Injuries
Most states do not require the reporting of an accident unless the damage estimate is above a specific dollar amount. While you are not expected to know the precise monetary value of damage, most people will know when an accident reaches the level of law enforcement notification. However, if you are unsure, you can call the local police or sheriff’s department to discuss the details of the collision. Dispatch can assess the issue and determine the need for police assistance.
Even if the department determines that a response unit is unnecessary, it is still in your best interest to file an incident report with local authorities. Many times, in situations of minimal damage or when police are not called to a scene because of a supposed mutual understanding, people change their minds and stories. If you have a report on file, it makes arguing your case and claim easier.
Significant Damage and Physical Injury
If the collision results in significant damage to your vehicle, you need to contact the police, regardless of injury. The police department will investigate the scene to determine any traffic or legal violations leading to the wreck and file a report. While many people feel that contacting the authorities is a personal preference, it is not. Most states require a police response to accidents resulting in damage over a specific dollar amount.
As with significant vehicle damage, physical injuries require a police response. While an emergency response might not be mandated, personal injury needs an investigation and report. You should also want these things, especially if you plan on filing a claim. However, a police presence and investigation can protect you against future liability accusations.
If you received an injury during a car accident, do not file a claim alone. Contact a local car accident lawyer for help.