Car accidents are one of life’s most terrifying events. They instantly change a person’s perspective of how safe they are in the world, and in the immediate aftermath there can be great confusion over what steps to take. If you’re unscathed in the accident, the first call might not be to an ambulance. It might be to a police officer. Many people wonder whether or not to call the police immediately after an accident, and it’s certainly not something that all people do, especially in the vent of a fender bender that doesn’t seem to have caused visible damage to vehicle or to people. Unfortunately, not calling can have severe consequences, especially if you find out later that you were injured. Remember that not all injuries are immediately noticeable.

When You’re Required To File A Police Report

There are some very specific incidents where you are required by law to call police after an accident. First things first: NEVER leave the scene of an accident, even if the car you hit wasn’t in motion and the driver isn’t there. Leaving the scene of an accident can be a misdemeanor and in some instances it’s even a felony. Stay at the scene and call the police. This is always wise. Police can investigate the scene and file a police report, and this is tremendously helpful later on if you develop injuries and were the victim of negligence.

If there is personal injury in the accident, it’s especially vital to call police. They can summons medical assistance to your aid and begin investigating the scene of the accident. You should always obtain a copy of this report later on for insurance purposes. If there is much damage in the accident, it’s also advisable to call the police. That’s because you’re going to want an account of the damage and the circumstances leading up to the accident, according to you.

In some states, it’s law to file a police report after an accident, and insurance almost always appreciates a police report because it helps to make the circumstance surrounding the accident more clear. Police have credibility in these instances and investigative expertise and powers to put everything into a simple to read report that helps courts make determinations later on.

When there was negligence

It’s always advisable to call police to the scene of an accident so that they can document their findings in a report. This is advisable for you and for anyone else. If you were the victim of negligence, the police report can help you out later on when you must go to court to recover damages. Insurance appreciates the report as well. Negligence can cause horrific injuries in accidents, so be sure to get a report.

The rare exceptions

If there’s a fender bender accident with no injuries and no damages, it might be possible to skip filing a police report. That’s truly up to the people at the scene of the accident, but remember to file a police report IF you live in a state that requires it in all instances. If police find that it’s a minor accident, they may even decline to file a report, but once again, it’s up to you in those fender bender moments, and sometimes people will at least attempt to get police on the scene anyway.

And there are times when injury is so severe that someone simply can’t call the police and get a police report. In most of these cases, there will be police on the scene anyway and the reports can be recovered later on when injuries have healed. And when there’s a dispute later on about what happened during the accident, you always have the first police on the scene to document what each party said.

In short, it’s always best to file a police report after an accident.