24 Jan

5 Reasons To Always Call The Police After A Car Accident

Car Accidents, Personal Injury, Tips

Call The Police After A Car Accident

If you are involved in a car accident in Florida, you should pull over in a safe area, make sure the other party is okay, and then call the police. 

Some people, especially younger or more inexperienced drivers, may wonder if this is always necessary. 

  • What if there was only minor damage to both vehicles, or no discernible damage at all? 

  • What if both of you were at fault for the crash, and both want to avoid a ticket; what if you were only at fault, but the other person wants to cut you some slack?

  • What if either of you don’t want to risk your insurance rates going up?

  • What if the other person doesn’t have insurance and begs you not to call the cops, because they will be in major trouble? What if they offer you cash for any damage to your car?

  • What if the other person is an undocumented immigrant, who could potentially face deportation if you call? 

There are many compelling reasons to want to forego police involvement after a car accident. However, it is in your best interests to contact law enforcement and get a formal accident report, even if you were the one who caused the crash. 

Here are 5 reasons to always call the police after a car accident! 

1 – Stops It From Becoming A He Said, She Said Situation

If no one calls the police, there won’t be an official third-party report, which means that what happened is entirely a matter of what you and the other person say/remember rather than actual fact. No matter how trustworthy or normal a person seems at the scene of the crash, you should never trust that a total stranger will not act dishonestly later on if it is in their own interests to do so. 

For example, say someone runs a stop sign and hits your car, or wasn’t paying attention and came into your lane. You both pull over; there isn’t any damage, so the person suggests that you both just let the incident go since you are both okay, and you agree.

A few weeks later, though, you are informed that the other person is suing you and your insurance company for tens of thousands of dollars in damages, claiming that their car is totaled, that there are herniated discs in their back and a host of other injuries, and claiming that you are the one who ran the stop sign or came into their lane. 

These are completely false claims by them – even if they did herniate their discs or total their car, you certainly were not the culprit, and the accident they were involved in with you was their fault! But there is no way to corroborate your story, because there isn’t a police report, because you didn’t call the police after a car accident. In a situation like this, you are the one on the defensive. Your true story may seem less believable as a result. 

Avoid putting yourself in that situation in the first place. If the police arrive at the scene, the other person could still lie about what happened, but there will be evidence to the contrary and the police can determine what actually occurred while they have that evidence available. If the other person lies weeks or months later, then you could be on the hook for damages. 

2 – Provides Important Documentation Of Evidence

The police are obviously experienced in analyzing car accident scenes. They can take stock of the scene and create an official report of what happened, and they can gather critical evidence that you may not think to, or be able to, get (such as pictures, witness statements, diagrams of the scene, statements, and more). 

3 – Lends Credibility To Insurance Claim

Say you are the one who is injured in an accident, and you need to pursue a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company because your own insurance company’s PIP (personal injury protection) benefits did not cover enough of your medical bills. 

The insurance company is already predisposed to find any way to decrease the amount they pay you in damages, because they lose money by doing so. Police reports help to lay a solid foundation for them to assess how much your case is worth. If you don’t have a police report, it gives them more ammunition to claim that your claim is illegitimate or not valued at the amount you are seeking. 

4 – Protects You If The Costs Of The Crash Are More Than They Seem

Let’s go back to one of the scenarios we mentioned at the beginning of the blog, and one of the most common reasons people don’t call the police – they don’t think the crash is that serious. 

Say the other party offered you cash, or maybe you didn’t really see any damage to your car and you don’t feel hurt, so you don’t call the police after a car accident because you think it’ll be fairly cheap to take care of – cheaper than the rising insurance costs if you get an accident on your record, surely. However, a few weeks later your car starts acting up. You take it to the shop, and they tell you the collision caused a problem that’s going to take thousands of dollars to fix. 

Or a few days later, your neck and upper back start to feel really sore. You visit the chiropractor and are told that it’s going to take a few months of adjusting to correct whiplash you sustained in the crash. Some injuries take days or weeks to present themselves! Your health insurance doesn’t cover the chiropractor you want to see, so you end up having to pay hundreds in out-of-pocket visits. 

The cash the other party gave you (if they did) may not be enough to cover the crash’s costs when all was said and done; that’s why calling the police is the smartest call!

5 – It’s Actually Illegal Not To

In Florida, if an accident resulted in any injuries, or over $500 worth of property damage, you are legally required to inform the police, or it could be considered a hit-and-run-situation. Now, if neither you nor the other person informs the police, they will not know about it, but if the other person comes forward later, or if something comes to light about the accident after the fact, you potentially could be charged with a hit and run, or face other penalties. 

Injured In A Car Accident Where The Other Driver Was At Fault? Whether The Police Were Called Or Not, We Can Help!

If you were hurt in a crash caused by someone else’s negligence, even if you didn’t call the police after a car accident, the experienced personal injury attorneys at The Florida Law Group can help you. Let us fight for the compensation you deserve! Contact us today for a free consultation.