After a car accident, it can be difficult to determine exactly what you should do.
Adrenaline is pumping, you are likely feeling overwhelmed, and it may be hard to maintain your composure.
Are you overreacting if you call the police? Should you call 911? Are your injuries bad enough that you should see a doctor? All of these questions are completely understandable, but the reality is that the more conservative you are, the better off you will be in the long run. An accident without a police report can cause some serious legal issues for you down the road if it turns out that you are hurt or need to seek compensation from the other drive.
According to Lawyers Fasig & Brooks, who have years of experience helping victims in car accidents get the compensation they deserve, you should always call the police after an accident. It is better to be safe than sorry because some injuries aren’t immediately apparent, and sometimes the other driver can suddenly become very combative once you start working with their insurance. Without a report, you have little evidence to rely on when trying to prove what went wrong.
Do You Need to Call the Police For a Fender Bender?
Even a fender bender or minor accident can cause injuries like whiplash, which can take a day or two before the true impacts of the injury become apparent. At the scene, as you are full of adrenaline and possibly trying to “play it cool,” you might not realize that you are injured. Additionally, the other driver may be injured and not realize it either. There is nothing more frustrating than filing a claim with the insurance company and discovering after the fact that the other driver is claiming that you caused the crash, AND that they were injured.
Protect yourself after any accident by calling the police. This is even more important in the event that the other driver was violating traffic rules or laws by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, texting, speeding, or driving recklessly. If the other driver is cited for a violation, this will improve your chances of getting a settlement (if necessary), but most importantly will protect you from being implicated as the cause of the crash.
How Important is a Police Report After a Car Accident?
The most essential benefit to a police report is that you have an official, unbiased third-party account of the situation, with statements from you, the other driver, and anyone else who witnessed the accident and was available to make a statement. Whether you are the victim in this accident or if you are the one who caused it, the police report establishes a baseline for your insurance claim and will protect you from any significant changes that the other driver makes to their story.
We want to believe that most people are good and honest, and while this is true, it is equally important that we plan for the worst after a situation that will require us to seek compensation from someone else. When the other driver realizes that their insurance premiums may increase, that they will have additional points on their license, and that they may be subject to other impacts that will negatively affect them, they may decide to lie or change their story. If there was no police report or official record, it is your word against theirs.