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How Severe Does My Fender Bender Need to Be Before Calling the Police?

Posted October 26, 2018 | Personal Injury Blog

Car accidents are stressful events, and it can be hard to think clearly when your adrenaline surges. Taking appropriate steps after an accident is key to filing a successful claim, whether it will be with your insurance or against the other driver. You should always consider calling the police to file a report after a car accident.

Not all accidents demand an immediate call to the police. Remaining on the scene and assessing the situation can help you determine the best course of action. You should always check that everyone involved in the accident is safe and seek medical help if necessary. Call the police right away if you encounter any of these situations:

Were there Injuries?

The highest priority following any accident is confirming the safety of everyone involved. Some car accident injuries may not be immediately apparent, but many others are obvious. Call emergency services immediately if someone is injured. Medical help will arrive, along with the police. Failure to immediately report a car accident that involves injury or death is a class C misdemeanor under Utah law.

The Property Damage to the Cars Exceeds $1,500

Check for damage to the vehicles only after confirming all involved parties are safe. You should always report an accident to the police within 24 hours, but you don’t need to call the police to the scene if there are no injuries or extensive property damage. Utah law requires immediate reporting to the police for all accidents with damages that total around $1,500, but you can also call if you believe the damage is approximately $1,000. You can wait to report an incident that caused only minor dents and scratches.

The Other Driver Is Uncooperative

You should always collect the other driver’s name, contact information, car details, and insurance information to help with filing your claim after any accident, no matter how severe.  Call the police if the other driver becomes aggressive or is being uncooperative about providing his or her information. You should also contact the police if you noticed that the other driver was driving dangerously or appears intoxicated when speaking with you.

Best Practices for Calling the Police

Remain calm when calling the police to respond to your accident. State clearly where you are and explain the situation. When the police and any other emergency personnel arrive, you should always speak objectively and never admit fault for the accident. Provide an objective report of the facts so the officer can properly compile the police report.

Report the accident to your insurance company after you contact the police. Take photos of any damages and collect any witness information while you wait for the officer to arrive. These can help your car accident claim later.

Be sure to get the responding police officer’s name and badge or ID number, as well as the police report number for the accident. This information will help you obtain a copy of the police report if you need it to file your insurance claim.

You should still report the accident to the police within 24 hours, even if you don’t require immediate police assistance. Filing a police report for a few scrapes to your vehicle may seem excessive, but this report will provide an objective account of the facts as evidence should a legal claim arise. Sometimes, you may discover injuries from the accident that are eligible for compensation only after visiting your health care provider. The police report can help with proving fault for your claim.

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Text edited by Mitchell Fielding, a personal injury lawyer and partner at Fielding Law. Mitchell is known for his hard work ethic, friendly personality and dedication to the law. You can find out personal injury law offices in Taylorsville, UT and Mesquite, TX.