Should Drivers Always Report a Car Accident?

Most insurance policies have wording in them that requires a policyholder to report any and all car accidents. This may be difficult for an insurance company to enforce in every case. If the accident is a minor one with no injuries or damage, it’s common for people not to report it. In some cases, this could be a mistake. However, we strongly encourage you to contact a car accident attorney to determine the best course of action. Remember that in the state of Texas you have 10 days from the accident date to report the accident. It should go without saying that if the accident caused any injuries you should immediately call for emergency services for help.

Reporting a Car Accident

Premium Change

The main reason most people do not want to report a minor accident is the possibility of an increase in their premiums. It is a real concern and very common. An insurance company will take into consideration the number of claims made by a policyholder when determining the premiums for a policy renewal. This is especially true if a driver is determined to be at fault for most of them. Not filing a claim to avoid an increase in premiums is generally a bad idea. Drivers are concerned that accidents will appear on their driving record. It can influence the cost of their policy premiums in the future. Should an insurance company discover a policyholder was at fault for an accident they did not tell them about, it could cause premiums to increase significantly. In some cases, this has resulted in an insurance company refusing to renew a policy.

Filing Police Report

Every state is different when it comes to situations requiring a police report to be filed. Insurance companies will recommend their policyholders always file a police report. This would ensure they have complied with the law. It can protect a driver who isn’t sure about the laws covering police reports in their state. A police report can become an important record of events. An auto accident attorney will typically advise their client that obtaining fair compensation from an insurance company is much easier when a police report is available. There are some situations in which filing a police report is not necessary such as:

  • No one is injured
  • All vehicles involved are driveable with minor damage
  • All drivers have driver’s licenses and proof of insurance
  • Drivers are cordial and there is no disturbance
  • Drivers are not intoxicated (drugs or alcohol)
  • No government people or property is involved

In these cases, you should still consult with an experienced attorney to determine if a report should be filed and if your insurance agent should be notified.

Extent of Injuries and Vehicle Damage

There are injuries that won’t show up immediately after a vehicle accident. It’s also possible for there to be unseen damage on a vehicle. Immediately after an accident, a person could experience confusion and high levels of adrenaline. This makes it possible for a person’s body to mask the real extent of an injury. There can be soft tissue damage that can take several days to manifest itself. It’s also possible for a vehicle to seem able to be driven after an accident but actually be severely damaged. A dent or a crack may not be immediately visible but could cost thousands in body work. This could result in serious financial or physical damage in the future. An auto accident attorney will know how to handle this situation if damages are discovered later. You should always obtain the other driver’s insurance and contact information no matter how minor the accident. It is also highly recommended that you see a doctor following an accident even if it was minor.

Avoid Verbal Agreements

There have been rumors about accidents in which the people who were involved make a verbal agreement to not report it to their insurance company or the police. If the accident was the other party’s fault, they may try to use this as a way to make an insurance claim and attempt to put the blame on you afterward. Because the accident was unreported, it may be difficult to prove your innocence. The other driver may also be using a recording device such as a dash-cam or cell phone and may use the recording as leverage if there is some attempt to put you at fault for the accident. Verbal agreements should never be made with other drivers involved in the accident.

Legal Advice

It is important to discuss a vehicle accident with a lawyer who is experienced with vehicle accidents.

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