Should I Call the Cops if I Get in a Small Car Accident?

small car accident

Getting into a car accident of any magnitude is usually an overwhelming experience. But with that said, it is not always clear whether or not it is necessary to call the cops. 

The moments after a car accident are often hectic, which makes it difficult to determine your best next steps. Rather than making those decisions after you’ve been involved in an accident, it’s better to have a plan of action in place in advance. 

Part of that plan should include a specific answer to the question of whether or not you’ll call the cops. In this article, we’ll answer that question and more. 

Reasons to Call the Police After a Small Accident

When asking whether you should call the cops after a small car accident, the simplest answer is yes. In most cases, it is best practice to call 911 following an emergency. While the other driver may present reasons or a simple desire not to contact the police, know that doing so is usually in your best interest. Below are a few of the reasons why that’s the case. 

You Want an Official Report

The number one reason why you should call the police after even a small car accident is that doing so will result in an official report. When the police officer arrives at the scene of the accident, they will determine the cause of the accident, indicate who was at fault, and likely take statements from everyone who was involved or witnessed the accident. 

For a mild fender bender, it may seem unnecessary to involve the police. However, having an official report of the accident can help you in the future, especially if you need to seek compensation for an injury or damage to your car. Without calling the police, you’ll have no official report to depend on when making those claims. 

You Cannot Trust the Other Driver

The other person, or people involved in your car accident, will likely be strangers to you. Since that is the case, you have no way to vouch for their character. In fact, some people you may get into a car crash with can appear far more trustworthy than they actually are. 

Trustworthiness comes into play when it comes to exchanging contact and insurance information, which is something you should do after a car crash of any severity. When the police are involved, they can confirm whether or not the information the other driver or drivers provide is correct. Without the police, the other drivers could lie to you about their information, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, to follow up later. 

You or Someone Else Was Hurt in the Accident

Whenever you get into an accident that causes someone to sustain an injury, it is always best to call 911. These instances require the police to record the incident, and other emergency first responders will likely arrive to assist with any injuries as well. 

When it comes to driving and car accidents, the safety of everyone involved is of the utmost concern. Therefore, if you are involved in an accident that causes someone to get hurt, be sure to call for medical assistance as soon as possible. 

Is Calling the Police After an Accident Required By Law?

Another potentially unavoidable reason why you should call the police after a small accident is that it may be a legal requirement in your state. Laws surrounding what action you must take after an accident vary from state to state, which is why you should know the rules and regulations in your jurisdiction before you take to the road. 

Some states place certain thresholds on car accidents to help drivers determine if calling the police is necessary. For instance, many states require you to call the police or file a report if the accident resulted in a certain dollar amount of vehicle damage or resulted in a personal injury. 

Take time to study the laws in the states where you frequently drive. You may learn that calling the police is a legal requirement, no matter what. But even if it isn’t, calling the police remains a good idea for the reasons we stated in the previous section. 

What Happens if the Police Fail to Respond to Your Call?

Most of us assume that the police will arrive shortly after we choose to call them in every case. However, that is far from the reality of the situation. Instead, when you call 911 after a small car accident, it is possible that the dispatcher or the police themselves may deem emergency assistance to be unnecessary in your situation. 

If and when the police decide not to respond to your call, you might be confused as to what you should do next. As a first step, ask the dispatcher if they have any closing advice for you before ending the call. After that, you should continue exchanging information with anyone else who was involved in the accident. 

You should also know that even if the police choose not to respond to your call after a small accident, it remains possible to create an official report of the incident. The only difference here is that you’ll need to travel to your local police station to file the report. If you attempt to seek compensation after the fact, having this report on file can help your case immensely. 

Consult Someone You Trust After a Small Car Accident

After a small car accident, it is helpful to know that you can consult with someone you trust about what to do next. This is especially true if you sustained a personal injury during the accident for which you wish to seek compensation. As mentioned previously, a police report will help you with your claims, but so will an experienced personal injury lawyer. 

At the North Shore Injury Lawyer, we provide legal services for those involved in car accidents and other situations that cause personal injury. If you are in our service area and have recently experienced an injury due to a small car accident, reach out to us today!