One of the more common questions asked after being in a car accident is “should I call the police?”
It’s important to understand what Arizona law dictates regarding the driver’s legal responsibilities when they’re involved in a car accident, one of these being informing law enforcement.
One of the first actions that should be taken after an accident is to check the safety and well-being of all involved. See if anyone is hurt and needs immediate medical assistance. If anyone is injured, call 911.
Arizona law requires a police officer, not the drivers involved, to report an accident any time the crash results in injury or death, and/or vehicle damage or damage to any other property in an apparent amount of at least $1,000.
Under Arizona law, you are required to stay at the scene of an accident until the police arrive. If you leave before officers arrive at the scene, you may be guilty of a felony and could have your driver’s license suspended.
If you’re involved in an accident and not sure if an injury is deemed ‘serious” or property damage is $1000 or more, it is best to err on the side of caution and report the accident to the police. It is also highly recommended that anytime you’re involved in a car accident you contact an attorney immediately. They will help you with the legal ins and outs and make sure your case is handled to get you the best possible outcome.
Not only is a police report required for many situations, but it can also prove to be very helpful. Police reports come in handy when it comes to submitting an insurance claim, but they can become much more important if the other side disputes fault for the accident and a serious injury resulting in a lawsuit occurs.
Even if the injuries are not obvious, due to the fact that most individuals are under an adrenaline rush or “fight or flight” mode, these injuries may not manifest until well after the accident. They can take days, if not weeks, to truly appear. If these injuries do appear later and the injured party tries to make a claim but failed to make a police report at the time the accident occurred, the insurance provider may dispute the fact that the injury was caused by the accident.
Insurance companies and judges put a lot of credence in police reports, especially when evaluating fault in accident claims. The police report can be used to help the injured party recover damages they deserve. Working closely with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to ensure you get the full compensation you deserve.
The best way to report an accident is to call 9-1-1. at the time of the accident. Get the name and contact information for the officer who completed the report, along with the report number, and ask them how a copy of the police report can be obtained later.
Certain helpful tips should be kept in mind when making your statements for the report. It is important to be truthful, however, never make any statements regarding fault or assigning blame whether it be admitting fault or assigning blame to someone else.
Also, do not answer questions for which an answer is not known. If the interviewed individual provides an answer that he or she knows may or may not be true, and that information is later refuted, that could be used against him or her.
A police report should include an accurate description of what happened in the accident, how many people were in the car at the time of the accident, names and contact information for any witnesses, injuries that are being experienced, signs of property damage to vehicles involved, driver insurance information, and vehicle information.
If a police report is not filed, this failure to report can be a problem later if an injured party wants to file a claim. When in doubt, it is best to go ahead and contact the police, even if an insurance claim is not filed.
Burnett Law is a top-rated auto accident attorney located in Mesa, AZ. If you were injured in a car accident and you were not at fault, the team at Burnett Law will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Call Burnett Law at 480-347-9116 for your FREE Consultation Today!