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Q: Who should I contact immediately after an accident?

A: The answer to this question will largely depend on the nature of the accident and the extent of any damages or personal injuries. The first agency to contact may be law enforcement. State laws vary as to rules regarding police reports and whether or not they must be filed. A general rule is that if a personal injury occurs, a police report must be filed. The same is true if property damage exceeds a specific dollar amount, which is determined by local law. The process of completing a report will often depend on whether or not an officer was called to the scene, in which he/she will likely file a report at that time if one is required. Other times, a report may be filed via the telephone or in person at the police station. The best way to determine local policy on police reports is to call the police immediately after an accident or ask someone else to make the call if you are unable.

In addition, most insurance companies require that their customers report any auto accident promptly after it occurs. The basic information surrounding the accident will be requested and often a recorded or written statement may be required. Prior to giving any type of statement, however, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney who specializes in auto accidents. Anything that you say to an insurance company, including claims regarding injuries, can be used to downplay your injuries if the case later moves toward litigation. Most insurance companies will expect a timely notification, however, and may cancel a policy if not notified soon after an accident.

Lastly, the Department of Motor Vehicles may require that an auto accident report be filed with their office. This requirement varies from state to state, but should be inquired about within a few days following an accident. If a report is required but is not provided, individuals may have their driving privileges suspended in some instances. If anyone was injured in the accident, it is best to speak with an attorney prior to giving any statement.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: This website provides only general information intended to be a starting point for most legal issues. This information is not legal advice, nor is it intended to create any binding advisory relationship. Do not take action based upon this information unless you consult with an attorney or other specialist.