Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | June 8, 2022 | Car Accidents
Sometimes, it’s evident that the police need to be involved after a car accident. This obviousness is usually the case when an accident leads to destroyed vehicles, serious injury, or significant property damage. But do you really need to call 911 when damage is minor and no one is injured?
The answer is yes. Here are some of the biggest reasons you should call 911 after a car accident:
Not All Injuries Are Visible
Delayed injury is a serious concern after a car accident. Most people have heard of whiplash, which is well known for producing headaches and pain in the neck, back, and shoulders that doesn’t appear until days or weeks after the accident.
However, whiplash is by no means the only invisible injury that a car accident can cause. Internal bleeding, organ damage, and spinal cord injury are all common car accident injuries that may not result in immediate pain or visible harm.
These injuries can produce chronic pain, the need for surgery, and other serious complications. Calling 911 establishes the facts of the car accident, which may be necessary for insurance coverage and taking legal action for compensation.
It’s Best to Document the Damage
Another common car accident horror story involves the other party falsifying damages.
You may have seen this trope play out on a sitcom — a fender bender leaves minor damage, and both parties go their separate ways. Suddenly, the innocent victim finds themself facing a court summons. They arrive in court to see the other driver covered in bandages, claiming their vehicle was destroyed.
Unfortunately, this happens in real life all too often. When you call the police after an accident, they officially document the extent of any injuries and damages. This documentation protects you from false claims that the other party might make after the fact.
Although another driver may seem friendly and well-intentioned in person, you can never tell when someone might manipulate your trust for their own financial gain.
Police Can Determine Fault
When you involve the police in a car accident, they often establish fault. Oftentimes, they issue a ticket for a driving infraction to the responsible party. When damages are minor, it can be tempting to avoid this consequence.
However, allowing the police to establish fault can protect you in the long run. This consideration is particularly important if the other driver was at fault. You may agree not to involve the police, only to find yourself reported for causing the accident.
Although it may seem like a shame to leave someone with a ticket and increased insurance premiums, it’s best to allow all parties to face the consequences of their actions. Failing to do this can leave you legally responsible for an accident you didn’t cause.
Insurance Coverage May Require a Report
Every insurance policy is different. However, some companies require that a police report be submitted if insurance is to cover the cost of repairs.
If you don’t file a crash report, you may find yourself left paying out of pocket to fix your vehicle. You pay for insurance specifically to avoid this situation, so it would be a shame to lose out on the coverage you pay for because you can’t provide the documentation your insurer needs.
Stay on the Right Side of the Law
Reporting laws vary by city and state. The circumstances of an accident may require you to involve the police. It’s better to play it safe by calling 911. This way, you avoid the consequences of accidentally breaking the law.
Furthermore, some car accidents lead to further legal issues. When you involve the police from the start, you create a paperwork trail that protects you from whatever legal and financial consequences may come out of a car accident. It’s always a good idea to speak with a car accident lawyer about your case to discuss your legal options.