Yes, you should call police to the accident scene even if you were only involved in a “minor” rear-end collision or another type of accident and don't think you were hurt. This action your legal rights if you later decide it's necessary to file a claim against the negligent driver’s insurance company.
When Are You Required to Contact the Police After a Car Accident?
Under California law:
- You're required to stop at the scene of an auto collision and give reasonable assistance to anyone who was injured.
- If you were involved in the collision, you must call the police to the scene, and make an accident report within 24 hours if the crash resulted in someone’s injury or death.
- It's also necessary to report your accident to the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days if it involved injuries or fatalities, or property damage of $1,000 or more.
Three Reasons to Always Call Law Enforcement
Even if you're not required to report the incident, you should always call the police at the crash scene. Here are three vital reasons why.
Preserving Important Evidence
When the police come to the scene of an accident, they'll give aid to any victims who need it. They also investigate the wreck and write a police report that has crucial information which can help if you file a claim. This includes:
- Name and contact information for the driver and his insurance company
- Contact information for witnesses to your collision
- Details of how the crash occurred
- Statements from you, the other driver(s), and any witnesses to the accident
- Officer’s conclusions as to the cause of the wreck
- Traffic citations issued
Follow-up for Undiscovered Injuries or Vehicle Damage
If you suffered whiplash, internal trauma, concussion or another brain injury, or back and spine conditions, you might not experience any symptoms until days or even weeks after your accident. In addition, the damage to your vehicle may be more expensive to repair than you think. Having the police report can be extremely helpful if you decide you must pursue a claim for compensation with the insurance company representing the at-fault driver or under your coverage.
Avoiding Disputes in Your Case
If you don't call the police right away, you give the insurance company ammunition to deny your claim or argue that you're owed less than you deserve. Without a police report, insurance adjusters might also claim the collision didn't happen or that your injuries were caused by another incident.
Call the Offices of Mark C. Blane for Case Support
Were you or a family member injured in a car accident in San Diego or Southern California? You need an experienced car accident lawyer to fight for the compensation that you deserve. To learn how I can assist you, call my office today, or fill out the convenient online form to schedule your free consultation.