A car wreck can be terrifying. It usually happens unexpectedly and can cause injuries to you and your passengers or destroy your car. You may worry that you were at fault, or you may even be at fault, but no matter what, the best thing to do is file a report with the police. Not doing so can lead to many problems down the road. It could end up costing you money. By not doing so, you could even be breaking the law. Some jurisdictions require you to file a police report when you have a car wreck. Let's take a look at how to report car wrecks to the police.
Before you even call the police, the best thing to do when you are in a car wreck is to take a look around and try to figure out what happened. Make sure no one is seriously injured. Cars and other items can be replaced, but some wrecks leave people needing immediate medical attention. Also, if your car is in danger of catching on fire, get away from it immediately, but watch for oncoming traffic.
Assuming no one is hurt, you also want to get the other driver's information. Unfortunately, some drivers will flee the scene of an accident, so it is important to take a good look at the car of the person who hit you. Write down their license plate number if possible and memorize the make and model of their car. This way you can give the information to the police when they come to make a report.
Some people wonder whether or not they should call the police, particularly if the accident is not a major one. If there is no damage and no one is injured, it is still best to always call the police and file a report. This way, the person who you were in the accident with cannot come back and try to accuse you of anything in the future because it is all written in the car accident report. Also, if you discover later on that your car was damaged, you will have the other driver's information and a police witness if a problem arises. Finally, in some jurisdictions, it is against the law not to file a police report when you are in an accident.
Unless you have your local police department's number memorized, it's always best to call 911 when you have a car accident. The 911 operator can not only get the police to your location as soon as possible, but they can dispatch a firetruck, ambulance, or any other necessary agency. Make sure you follow all directions the dispatcher gives you. This may include information about treating injuries or what you should have ready when the police arrive. You may also ask them if you should move your car if you can, or they may suggest you do so, anyway. Give them as many details as you can so they can transfer the information to the police and use it to help you.
While you are waiting for the police, it is best not to say too much to anyone else involved. You never want to put yourself in a situation where the other person could accuse you of being at fault. You can ask them if they are okay or let them know you called the police, but do not discuss the accident with the other party.
When the police do arrive to make a report, make sure you talk only to them about the accident. Give them as many details as you can remember about what happened. You may be nervous about talking to the police or you may be shaken up from the accident, but it is important to remember that they are there to help you. Be honest. Lying to a police officer can often get you in bigger trouble than you would be in if you caused the car accident.
Finally, make sure you get contact information from the police officer who filed your report. When dealing with your insurance agency or a lawyer, you may need to be able to get a copy of the report you filed. In some cases, your lawyer or agent may want to talk to the officer. You may also need a copy of the report if the accident causes you to miss work or school. In some cases, people forget important details when recalling a car accident, and these can be added to the officer's report as well.The police officer should be willing to give you information on how you can get a copy of it and how you can get in contact with him or her.
Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations where we can't contact the police. Maybe neither driver has a cell phone and you are on a deserted road. If this is the case, get as much information about the other driver as possible. Make note of their car color, make and model, license plate number, what they look like, and their name, insurance, and contact information. Also, make note of any damage to both vehicles. If you have a cell phone with a camera, use it to take pictures of the accident. In some cases, people have even drawn pictures of the accident so they could remember important details. Once you have done this, if you are able, go directly to your local police department to file a report. Otherwise, contact the police as soon as you are able.
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