Four Reasons to Call the Police after a Car Crash
When you are involved in a car crash, your first priority should be your physical safety and that of anyone involved. If possible, move to safe location away from the flow of traffic and take stock of any injuries you may have sustained. For situations any more severe than a cracked fender or a dented bumper, however, your next step should include calling the police.
It may be tempting to simply exchange insurance information with the other driver and go your separate ways, but there are risks inherent in doing so. Handling an auto accident without the help of law enforcement can leave you without an independent perspective that could be very important should filing a personal injury claim become necessary. Important reasons for involving the police include:
- The damage may be worse than you think: What appears to be a minor fender-bender may have caused your vehicle’s frame to shift, created problems with electronic sensors, or other concerns that may drastically increase the expense of getting the vehicle repaired. Likewise, you may not realize for several hours or more that you have been injured. A full police report can help bolster your claim to cover the necessary costs.
- Contributing factors by other parties: Immediately following the accident, you probably developed a picture in your mind of what happened. You may even believe that you were totally at fault. A responding police officer, however, will take statements from you, the other driver, and available witnesses, which could identify other factors that led to the accident. For example, the other involved driver may have lost control while attempting to avoid a pedestrian who ran out into the street, but was blocked from your view.
- Preventing accusations of leaving the scene: Even if you did not call the police, a witness or passing driver may have done so. If you finish exchanging information and leave, the police may arrive to find only one involved party at the scene. While you may not have thought the accident was serious enough to wait for police, the police may disagree. Leaving the scene of an accident can be not only detrimental to your personal injury claim, but may be considered a misdemeanor crime as well, if warranted by the circumstances.
- A written account can be vital: Without a police report of the accident, your claim with your insurance company will be based entirely on word-of-mouth statements. Likewise, future claims for personal injury damages will be difficult to pursue without formal documentation. A police report will help establish the facts of the crash, who was actually at-fault, and insight into the contributory actions of everyone involved. Insurance carriers, injury attorneys, and even medical professionals can use such a report to make informed decisions on how to proceed in helping you.
If you have been injured in a car accident, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced DuPage County personal injury attorney. At Martoccio & Martoccio, we are fully committed to helping our clients get the compensation they need to put their lives back together after a car crash. Contact our office today for a free consultation and put our hardworking team on your side.