Should I Call the Police After a Car Accident?
Car accidents can happen at any time. They can be annoying because they happen when you least expect them. More often than not, they put a dark cloud on even the brightest days. Time is an important issue in the aftermath of a car accident. The moment the collision occurs, the proverbial clock begins on your
ability to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. Deciding on whether the time is right to contact the police is also a factor.
As a general rule, it is best to call the police and ask that they come out to the accident scene. Why? Because this will result in the police filing an official accident report and may include the police ticketing the other driver. These two things will dramatically improve your chances of securing financial restitution when a personal injury claim is filed.
Top 5 problems if you don’t call the police after an accident:
- The at-fault driver can change their story after you leave. It is better to have an officer question them and put it in the accident report.
- Witness information could be lost. Accident witnesses are more likely to give accurate statements and contact information if questioned by a law enforcement officer.
- Citations (tickets) will not be issued against the other driver. Guilty pleas to tickets are admissible as good evidence regarding liability in a trial. It is much better for you if the police investigate and ticket the other party.
- Drunk drivers can escape prosecution. If you are hit by a suspected drunk driver, do not let them talk you out of calling the police. It is clearly safer to get them off the road and their arrest and prosecution is very important to a civil case against them for driving drunk and causing an accident.
- The police officer’s opinion regarding the cause of the accident can be used in court and that opportunity is lost if you don’t call the police.
In addition to calling the police, you should consider taking the following actions after a car wreck:
Check for Injuries
It is necessary to check yourself and your passengers as well as persons in the other vehicle for injuries. Apart from the fact that you need to put your health and that of the others involved in the accident over your car, the kind of injuries caused from the accident will determine whether you need to call the police.
If you discover that anybody is hurt, you should call the police and emergency services immediately. DO NOT drive away before the situation is taken care of.
Assess the Damage to Both Cars
After making sure you and the other people involved in the accident are okay, you can check the damage to both cars. Take photos of the damage to your car and photos of the accident scene. It is important to know the positioning of the cars after the accident so that the police, insurance adjusters and most importantly your lawyer can understand how the accident happened.
Assess the Other Driver
Approach the other driver to obtain his or her name, address, phone number, license number, and insurance details. If the other driver refuses to cooperate with you or try to convince you to simply “exchange insurance information,” you should take it upon yourself to call the police. If the other driver refuses to stop or drives away, definitely call the police.
Prepare for the Insurance Claims Process
Even when the damage to the cars is not so serious, it may still be advisable to call the police. This is especially true for the purpose of proof in the insurance claims process. When the call is made to the police, there will often be an official report and you can request a copy. This report can help make the claims process easier and can be relied on as proof of how the accident happened.
Have Questions About What to do After a Serious Car Wreck?
Speak to a Houston Car Accident Attorney
Do not try to take on the insurance company alone. You need the services of an experienced and skilled Houston personal injury attorney to help guide you through the complexities of the personal injury claims process. Take action now and contact Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. to schedule a free, confidential consultation.