Is it Necessary to Report Minor Accidents?
There are thousands of car accidents in Alabama each year and the majority of them are considered minor. So, what is a minor car accident? For starters, it’s one in which there is little to no damage to either vehicle and there were no injuries to any of the people involved.
If you are involved in a minor car accident you likely want to know if you should report it. There are only two entities to whom you would need to report and those are law enforcement and the insurance agency. Let’s take a look at both and see what would require you to report a minor car accident.
Reporting to Law Enforcement
This is the most frequently asked question when it comes to minor accidents because your first instinct is to dial 911 when involved in a car accident. Depending on where you are, you might not be required to report an accident unless it involves an injury, even if it is a minor injury.
If there is damage to the vehicle ranging between $1,000 and $2,5000, some jurisdictions will require that you report the accident to law enforcement so an accident report can be created.
Even if you don’t report the accident to law enforcement it’s still required of you to exchange information with the other drivers. This includes your names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance company information.
It’s a good idea to call law enforcement to the scene if you are led to believe that the other driver is uninsured, if the two of you cannot come to an agreement as to who caused the accident, or if the other driver is not being cooperative. Law enforcement that responds, depending on the location, could be local, county, or state.
Should you, your passenger, or anyone else involved suffer an injury in the accident it should be reported to law enforcement. The accident should be reported even if the person injured is going to refuse medical attention or transport to the hospital.
Reporting to Insurance Company
When drivers are involved in minor accidents many decide that they won’t report the accident to the insurance company for two reasons: they assume their premium will go up and they think they can handle the issue with the other driver.
These are two big misconceptions that must be removed from your thinking. All automotive insurance policies written in the United States require drivers to report any type of accident to the agency immediately.
If you decide not to report an accident, even a minor one, to your insurance company you could wind up facing higher premiums and other penalties in the future.
Coming to a verbal agreement with the other driver does nothing for you, especially if one party realizes the damage to the vehicle is more intense than originally thought or if injuries show themselves days later. This is known as delayed onset of pain.
Should the other party try to file an insurance claim months after the accident you can be penalized by your insurance company for failing to report it. This can lead to denied coverage or increased premiums.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.