One of the first things you can do if you’re in a car accident is contact the local police or sheriff’s office.
In certain jurisdictions, law enforcement must be informed when a traffic accident results in injury or causes automobile harm above a certain dollar amount.
In any case, in such a perplexing situation, a qualified law enforcement officer (from the local police or sheriff’s department) can be an invaluable source of assistance and knowledge.
- Provide or order emergency medical assistance, if an ambulance or paramedics have not already arrived.
- Secure the accident scene while determining who caused the subject accident.
- Prepare and file a Traffic Collision Report (police report) in connection with the accident if there are injuries, serious vehicle injury, or significant vehicle code violations.
Be sure to make a note of the officer’s name, badge number, and the police department that the officer represents so that you can receive a copy of the accident report after it has been released. Usually, the police officers will provide you with this information on their own.
If a Traffic Collision Report number is available at the scene, be sure to get it.
At a later date you will be able to obtain a copy of the Traffic Collision Report for your records by going to the local police department and requesting it. There will also be a small fee to pay for the copy.
A Traffic Collision Report is an important document that anyone involved in the auto accident depends on heavily. This includes the parties involved in the accident, as well as insurance companies and any attorneys involved.
Is It Appropriate to Call the Police Even if the Accident is Minor?
Typically, the answer is yes.
Even if the accident is minor, a police officer will assist you in figuring it out and recording what happened in case it is needed in the future. In certain areas, however, the police are unlikely to react to your slight fender-bender. They’ll simply order you to exchange information with the other driver. In this scenario, the police will not prepare a report.
What Information Do You Share with the Other Driver if you Call the Cops and They Order you to Just Exchange Information?
At the very least, make sure you get the following details from the other driver(s) — and that the other driver(s) gets it from you:
- Full Name of the Driver and All Passengers,
- Driver’s Address
- Car Insurance Company Name
- Car Insurance Company Policy Number
- License Plate Number
Request documentation such as a driver’s license and an insurance verification card from which you can copy this information. If you don’t check what they’re telling you, people will often give you false details, regarding their true name, insurance company name, and insurance company policy number. If you fail to check their details, call the cops and demand that the driver remains at the scene until they arrive. If you have any questions about the details you are providing, contact the other driver’s insurance provider right away to check that the other driver has provided you with correct information. However, just verify the information – DO NOT tell the other driver’s insurance company about the details of the crash. Our suggestion would be to call CONTACT US!
If you call the cops and they send an officer to the scene, but it’s a minor car accident, the department can put it on the back burner. It’s important to be patient and wait for them.
What do you do in the Meantime?
- Evaluate the situation
- Assist someone who is in need
- Assemble proof
- Get the names and contact information for any witnesses
- Safeguard the scene from further damage, and
- Be careful what you say to the other driver and everyone else who might be present. When cops arrive, offer the officer the details he or she requests, but be wary about what you say to the officer. Bear in mind that any argument you make could be included in a police report.
***Our suggestion would be to CONTACT US***