How to Report a Car Accident
An essential step in recovering compensation for property damage, medical bills or other associated expenses is to report the car accident. Your accident report is also official documentation regarding the events that occurred at the scene and can serve as proof of fault if you’re filing an insurance claim or lawsuit.
Steps to Report a Car Accident to the Police
There are only a few tasks to complete to report a car accident.
- Call the police: This might seem obvious, but calling the police to the scene of your accident will eliminate many other steps you might have to take later. Unless your accident is very minor, having police at the scene will provide you with documentation of the events and will allow police to interview passengers and witnesses and record the circumstances of the crash.
- Cooperate with the police: The officer will ask a series of questions and will also interview other bystanders, drivers and passengers. Be sure to be specific in all responses and provide any requested information such as insurance documents, driver’s license, and registration. While it may be difficult to be composed after an accident, it is important to state the facts and tell your story to the police officer.
- Report to a police department: If the police do not arrive on scene – for example, if you did not call them – then contact the local police department to report the accident. Each department may have different processes to report a car accident, so check the department website or contact the department directly.
Steps to Report a Car Accident to an Insurance Company
You may later report the car accident to your insurance company. You might actually be required to report the accident even if it’s not your fault and you won’t be filing a claim with it.
Whether you file a claim with your insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver will depend on who is at fault and the type of coverage on your policy. In Massachusetts, you may file with your own personal injury protection (PIP) but in more serious cases may pursue a liability claim with the other driver.
Do not trust the other driver to report the accident to his or her insurer. Call the insurer yourself to report the accident and inform the insurance company that you will be filing a liability claim.
Some items to remember when filing a car accident claim are as follows.
- Be specific: Be prepared to offer the time and date of the accident, all pertinent data from the other parties involved, and an accurate and specific description of the location and circumstances of the accident. If you’re giving an official statement to the insurer after a serious accident, first consult an attorney.
- Obtain a copy of your police report: This might be your most important piece of documentation when it comes to proving fault and supplying all details of the accident. This is why knowing how to report a car accident to the police is so important. The police report is typically available within a few days of the incident and you can pick it up at the police station.
- Provide any other documentation: If you have photos of property damage, medical bills or estimates for repairs, be sure to provide this information along with your claim. If you have an attorney supporting you, give this documentation to him or her to place in your file.
Call Rob Levine, the Heavy Hitter ®, if You Were in a Serious Accident
If you or a loved one has been in an accident in Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Connecticut, the process of knowing how to report a car accident, how to file a claim, and how to negotiate a settlement can be overwhelming. Call Rob Levine and Associates at 1-800-LAW-1222 to schedule your consultation and get started on your case.