Is Calling the Police a Requirement After a Car Accident ?
Under Pennsylvania law, the requirements for calling police will vary according to the severity of the accident.
If the accident involves injury or death to anyone involved, or if any vehicle is totaled, then you are required by law to report the accident immediately to the closest police department.
In serious accidents, the police are usually responsible for writing the accident report though in some cases, the Department of Transport (DoT) may request a separate report from the driver.
In cases where police do not - or cannot - attend the scene of an accident that involves physical injuries or property damage, then each driver involved in the crash is required by law to file an accident report with Pennsylvania's DoT. Failure to file this report within five days of the accident occurring may lead to suspension of your driver’s license.
What Should I Do Following a Car Accident?
Whether you are in a minor fender-bender or a front-on collision, car accidents can cause you serious injuries that can have lasting effects on your life both physically and financially.
But after an accident, what steps should you take? Should you call the police? Do you need to call them for a minor accident? And how does a police report affect any claim? Find out how making a police report can help you file an auto accident lawsuit to get compensation for your suffering after an accident.
What Information Should I Collect after a Car Accident?
If the accident was minor, or if you know the police will not attend, then there is vital information you need to collect to submit a DoT report.
- Collect all contact information, including the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all drivers involved in the accident.
- Make a note of all driver's license plate numbers and insurance policy numbers.
- Contact information for all passengers, pedestrians, and other witnesses who were involved in the accident.
- Collect all information on the vehicles involved in the accident, including make, model, and body style of each car, license plate numbers, VINs (vehicle identification number).
- Compile a detailed description of any damage sustained by each vehicle.
What are the Benefits of Making a Police Report after an Accident?
It will benefit any court action or dealings with your insurance company. And in cases where a police report is made, it may also identify if another driver caused the accident.
In some cases, what may appear to be minor damage or injury at the scene of an accident may prove to be more serious a few days later. By creating a paper trail from the point of the accident, you will make the process of filing a claim smoother. A paper trail can also make any claims against you easier to deal with by providing information to your Pennsylvania car accident lawyer.
Some insurance companies may void your coverage if a report has not been made. So by immediately filing a police report, you could ensure that the insurance company won’t offer you a lower settlement than you deserve.
Do I Need to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer For My Claim ?
Due to the high instance of road accidents in Pennsylvania, the police cannot attend all accidents and instead prioritize those where there is serious injury, death, or significant property damage.
Whether you obtain a police report on the incident or submit one yourself to the DoT after the accident, a report can go a long way to ensuring that claims and court actions go in your favor.
Here at Philly Injury Law, we have been acting as Philadelphia car accident injury lawyers for many years. Our law firm works on a contingency basis, so contact us at (215) 735-4800 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.