Even in the case of a minor accident in a state where you don’t have to call the police, it is always better to call them. Calling the police and filing a police report at the accident scene is required if you plan to file a personal injury report. It can also accelerate the process and help identify where the fault for the accident lies.
In a minor accident, the police may tell you to exchange information with the other driver. However, in this case, you won’t have a police report.
Important Police Procedures
It is essential to call the police, even after a minor accident, in most states when someone is injured, or the damages are over a certain amount. The police presence of an officer can be from any of the local law enforcement departments. However, the police sometimes take longer to arrive for minor accidents because they consider them a low priority.
Often, in an accident where no injuries are reported and the vehicles are only slightly damaged, the police don’t arrive to do a report. However, you should still call them, and if they don’t come, collect as much information as possible from the accident scene. Remember to get all the personal details of the other driver, the name of their insurance, their broker’s details, the policy number, their license plate number, and the state their vehicle is registered in. Also, take as many detailed photos as possible.
A police report is a crucial document if you are planning to file a personal injury claim. Therefore, calling for the police to the scene of an accident is vital for preparing the report. In the report, the police officer attending the accident scene will adequately assess the damage and the cause of the accident.
Remember, take down the agency, name, and badge number of the police officer filing the report at the scene. This is important because you will need a copy of that report later for your insurance or intended legal action.
Getting medical help
If the accident you are involved in is more serious, and you or someone else has an injury, someone is likely to require medical care. In serious accidents, the police may be the first to arrive on the scene. Besides clearing the area for the emergency services, they are also trained to provide basic first aid. Calling the police to the scene of a car accident helps get the initial medical process started; often, this can be lifesaving.
Evaluating the accident scene
Police are trained individuals who know how to assess an accident scene and collect invaluable information. Therefore, immediately after any accident, severe or minor, the police can determine vital information for your case.
Police officers are responsible for collecting witness reports, performing roadside tests to see if anyone was driving under the influence, and all sorts of other important information on the parties involved.
Creating a safe environment
After an accident, especially a serious one, police presence creates a safe environment for the investigation into the accident. By blocking off the road affected by the accident, they ensure that valuable evidence isn’t lost. They also create a safe environment from other cars and frayed nerves so that they can talk to everyone involved, including the witnesses.
Police officers are trained to provide and call for medical care while also protecting the accident scene while conducting the investigation. Therefore, make sure to give them the specifics and the information requested. The details and hard evidence of any accident appear in the police report, and the officer present can be called for comment. Sometimes a point may not make it into the police report, but the officer may have some input about it later if asked.