Any auto accident can be a terrifying experience, especially if your vehicle is badly damaged or someone (including yourself) is injured in the accident. First things first, stay calm and don’t panic, this can only make matters worse and remember the first thing you need to do is make sure you are safe. If the damage is bad or if someone appears to be injured, call 911 immediately to get emergency personnel on-site and tend to any injuries that you can, if at all possible, while awaiting the emergency response.
According to the Arizona Department of Motor Vehicles, as a private citizen, you are not required to file a police report unless,
- Someone in the accident is injured or if there is a fatality,
- It appears that there has been excessive property damage of more than $1,000,
- The officer issues a citation to one of the parties in the accident,
Although you are not required to file a police report, you are required to remain at the scene and departing an accident scene may lead to a felony and license suspension. The responding officer may elect to file a report pending the circumstances and conditions of the accident.
While you are not required to file a police report, it is highly recommended that you do, even if you feel the damage to your property is minor and you are uninjured. Many injuries, such as brain or nervous system injuries often have no immediate symptoms and sometimes, what looks like just a dent, could actually be something far greater requiring substantial expenses. A police report contains relevant details about your accident including pertinent contact details of the other driver(s), conditions at the time of the accident, notes about the accident that may be useful to an insurance company, as well as, the notes from a police officer about the cause and responsible party of the accident.
There are several outlets to file a police report that vary by jurisdiction but the most common are a local police station, the county sheriff or highway patrol. Some areas have online reporting tools as well. However, if you have been in an accident and feel you are not at fault you should contact police to get them to the scene to file a report. This eliminates the other parties’ ability to misrepresent what happened in the accident and may have a material impact on the success of your claim should there be disputes between the parties of the accident and/or the insurance companies of either party. If you can’t easily locate local police, sheriff or highway patrol, simply call 911 and they will be able to refer or connect you.
Always remember, you need to stay calm at the scene, get people to safety, attend to any injured people and make sure to protect your interest. A solid way of protecting your interests is by making sure a police report is filed and that you contact the right accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Accident Law Group is available to discuss your accident claim with you to make sure you understand every aspect of your case because if you try to go it alone, backfire. Insurance companies are known to be “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and we know how to unmask them.
If you’ve been in an accident, don’t go it alone against the insurance companies, trust that to Accident Law Group. Contact us on 602-262-4254 for a free consultation so that you fully understand your rights to full and proper compensation. We fully understand the tactics of insurance companies and have our own countermeasures to ensure you are protected. Call today!