Q: Am I supposed to report even minor accidents to the police?
Most people do not want to be a bother to anyone, let alone law enforcement officials. So often when we see an accident or suspicious activity, we consider reporting it to the police, only to decide against it. Usually, we talk ourselves out of it, assuming that others have called or it isn’t serious enough to report.
In the case of your own auto accident, however, you have much more riding on that call to law enforcement. By calling the police, it may feel as though you are blowing a fender-bender out of proportion, or distracting officers from more serious crimes. Making that call, however, can mean the difference in receiving what you deserve and receiving nothing at all.
Furthermore, that call may be mandatory. In Texas, there are two scenarios where you absolutely must call law enforcement and fill out a crash report after an accident:
- When someone involved has been injured or killed in the accident.
- When the accident resulted in damage totaling over $1,000.
The reason for calling when someone has been hurt is clear; emergency responders will need to report to the scene to offer help or lifesaving support. The monetary damage limit is more for your own good—when police are called to the scene, official reports are filed including driver and witness accounts. This helps you when you need to file an auto insurance claim—not only does it back up what happened at the scene, but it can prevent costly backtracking and litigation if the other driver suddenly changes his or her tune about the damage they sustained.
There are some scenarios where the law may not require informing law enforcement of your accident, but calling will protect your case in the long run. These examples include:
- A dispute between you and the other driver about what caused the crash
- An uninsured driver was involved in your crash
- Inclement weather or poor road conditions caused your crash
- The other driver involved is belligerent
When in doubt about calling law enforcement, it is always best to err on the side of caution. It is better to realize that your call may not have been necessary than to wish you had called after the fact. If you have questions or concerns following a car accident of your own, attorney Steve Lee can help—simply click on the live chat feature to be connected with the firm now!