The uncomplicated answer is that you should report the accident immediately. However, accidents are stressful and unprecedented situations. In the lucky event that everyone comes out unscathed, the police still have to:
- Analyze the scene
- Ask questions
- Write their report
You also need to check the vehicles to know the extent of the damage. If any of the people involved in the accident suffered injuries, things get even more complex. Following an accident, a doctor should examine everyone and treat all injuries. Getting a doctor’s report and a police report is vital at this stage.
The more severe the injuries, the more complicated the situation becomes. So you need as much proof of damages as possible.
Do I Have to Report a Car Accident?
While rare, there are incidences where you do not need to report a car accident. If everyone involved is unharmed and agrees on a settlement, you may not have to report it. Of course, the accident has to be minor, and everyone has to either agree to let it go, or the one at fault pays out of pocket to cover damages.
Another situation where you may not need to report an accident is when the other driver admits fault and gives you the details of their insurance provider. This usually happens after a fender bender where no one is injured and everyone agrees to the terms created.
If you see the other driver wants to cause problems, involve the police and get official documentation. This way, you can report the accident to your insurance provider. Reporting the accident to the police is also required when severe injuries and property damages occur in many states.
There Are Deadlines to Report Car Accidents
Reporting a car accident to your insurer is an important step following a car accident. Many people try to put this off for as long as possible to deal with immediate damages first. However, you should report a car accident as soon as possible after it occurs.
Many insurers have a 24-hour hotline you can use to report an accident and a 30-day limit for reporting an accident. Call your insurance provider to confirm their ideal window for reporting an accident. You should also check your laws, as they dictate how long you have to report an accident to the police.
Reporting an Accident Versus Filing an Insurance Claim
Filing an insurance claim is not the same as reporting an accident. While many insurance providers have a 30-day limit on reporting accidents, they might give you unlimited time to file the claim after the report. While providers encourage you to report an accident, you can only file a claim if you need help covering medical bills or damages.
You need evidence of the damages and a claim form to file the claim. The other driver’s information and the accident report can be helpful, also. At the scene, all you need to do is call 9-1-1, so the police can arrive and make the report.
If you left the scene, taking information about the situation and the other involved parties is helpful. You need to provide these details when filing the police report after the fact.
What Happens If You do Not File a Report?
Some states have strict laws on filing reports, so check your state’s laws on accident reporting. Remember, this is in regards to reporting an accident to the police.
How do You Report an Accident?
To report a car accident, you can call 9-1-1 or manually fill out an accident report at your local police station. Some states offer online accident report forms, which you can download, fill out, and mail to the appropriate department.
This will help you get an official police document you can use later to file your claim.
How do You Get an Accident Report?
The process of requesting an accident report differs from state to state. In South Carolina, you can get your report from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. In Georgia, you can get your report from the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles. You could order your accident report online for a fee.
Your Lawyer Can Handle Your Case, Including Obtaining the Accident Report
If you are involved in a car accident, consider speaking with an injury attorney. At George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers, our personal injury attorneys are well versed with accident cases in Georgia and South Carolina.
We would help you file your insurance claim and file a lawsuit if negligence was involved. Our team will put your interests first. The American Bar Association states that most cases end in the settlement phase, and victims need not go to court.
How George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers Can Help After Your Car Accident
There is no cost to you if you retain our services, and we cannot secure compensation for you. We only charge with the success of a lawsuit, and you and your lawyer will previously establish the amount we take if we win
If you have additional questions about how long you have to report a car accident or related matters, George Sink P.A Injury Lawyers can get you answers. Reach out today for a free consultation at (843) 779-1777.