Why You Should Wait for The Police After an Auto Accident
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
If you have never been involved in a car accident, the chances are that you will be in the near future. With more than six 6 million automobile accidents in the U.S. every year, the odds of avoiding even a minor collision are astronomical. Our roads are getting busier every year which means that our roads are also getting more dangerous every year, and even the most cautious of drivers will likely have a fender bender at some point.
Most people know the basic steps to take after an accident yet many fail to call the police or to report the accident. Is it something you really need to do? And if so, why?
The first thing that you should always focus on after even the most minor of accidents is injuries. Are you or your passengers injured? Are any of the occupants of other vehicles injured? If there are any injuries at all, then calling 911 and asking for an ambulance.
It is also essential to stay calm and not let any disagreement over cause or fault escalate to a physical altercation. When able, collect all information necessary for the claims process with your insurance company including phone numbers of other parties, insurance information and license plate numbers.
Even where damage is minor, collect all information after a motor vehicle accident to help with your car insurance claim.
Calling the Police
At what stage you involve the police is going to depend very much on the severity of the accident and of the injuries. The first, and most important, thing to know about is the legal aspect. Michigan law requires that you report any vehicle accident where any of the following factors apply:
- Where someone has been injured or killed as a result of the accident.
- When more than $1,000 of property damage has been caused.
- When unattended or vacant property has been damaged.
- If a parked vehicle has been damaged and the owner cannot be found or contacted.
Michigan places a requirement on any mechanic, garage, or repair shop to report any vehicle received needing repairs for accident damage (or damage from bullets).
Now it may not always be the case that police can or will attend the scene of the accident, especially if it is a minor accident, but that does not remove the legal obligation to report.
What the law requires is that if any of the above criteria are fulfilled then you must file a police report about the accident as soon as possible to the police station closest to you or one that is most convenient.
But where an accident is serious, having the police attend is essential for several reasons.
- If there have been serious injuries or deaths, an accident report is legally required. They need to investigate what caused the accident in case there are criminal charges to be brought. The lead police officer who attends will record all details and any subsequent report may identify if a particular driver holds more liability than others.
- Where there is property damage caused by the accident and it is estimated that the costs of the damages exceed $1,000, then a police report may be essential when it comes to the property owner wanting to file a claim.
- If there is liability beyond Michigan’s no fault law, having a police report will be a crucial piece of evidence when it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim against another driver or another third party.
While the law only states that you must report a car accident immediately, having police attend an accident above a minor fender bender can be advantageous to you and any claim you make. Having an official police report that apportions blame – or clears you of liability – can ensure that any insurance claim or any claim against another party will go smoother. Where there is a serious injury or death, then police attending the scene of the accident is essential.
If you need any assistance in pursuing a claim, or in dealing with an insurance company making a low offer, then Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. have many years of experience in dealing with all aspects of auto accident cases. Take advantage of our free consultation offer by calling us today at 866-MICH-LAW.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.