Should you report a minor car accident? Minor accidents seem like significant confusion to drivers. You have no injuries, small or no damage, but still, such things can be stressful.
Minor accidents often happen in parking lots or driveways, and the insurance claims are usually fast to resolve.
Since, in such cases, drivers often have some minor damages (that still cost money), they often wonder whether they should report the minor accident, or not. Our experienced Huntersville car accident attorneys will help break down the steps you should take after some kind of minor accident.
Should I report the car accident to law enforcement?
The simplest answer is that everything depends on the circumstances and the state you live in.
In most states, you should report the accident, no matter how minor it is.
What matters the most is that you exchange info with the other driver (name, address, insurance information).
Every state requires drivers to do this if they have been involved in an accident.
If the other driver refuses to give you this info, or you believe that they do not have insurance, you should report the accident to law enforcement. The law enforcement agency might be county sheriff, municipal police, or the highway patrol.
If the other party is cooperative, it is still a good idea to seek help from law enforcement. This w
The investigating officer would record interviews with both drivers and witnesses; he or she would observe the scene as well.
In cases of injuries, it is best if you call the police and medical help. Even if you do not have visible injuries, it does not mean that you are not injured. If you fail to contact law enforcement and later discover that you were injured, you will fail to get a compensation claim.
There would be no evidence and no report of your initial condition, so you would not have any legal base to file for a claim.
If the accident took place in bad weather conditions and you call the police, you might get instructions (in case there are no injured people) to get to the nearby gas station where you could file a report form and mail to the law enforcement. This is in case if the police are not able to reach your location.
Reporting a minor accident to your insurers
Many people would avoid reporting minor car accidents because the driver assumes that their insurance rate would increase and because they believe that he or she would work things out with the other driver.
It is essential to understand that every car accident insurance policy in the USA requires an immediate report to an accident their policyholders are involved in. If you don’t do that, you may face complications or penalties in the future.
Hypothetically, let’s say you agree with the other driver (at the scene) that you will work things out without filing insurance claims. The other driver may get home and realize that their damages are more significant and that they are injured. You are not protected anyhow from their decision to file a claim.
Your insurance company might deny protection to you because you failed to report the accident immediately. Trying to avoid a potential increase in your insurance premiums may end up in even higher financial losses in the future.
The only time you could consider not to report your minor accident is if it happened in your vehicle and on your property, and no person was injured. Cases like these usually involve you hitting your fence or garage door. In such a case, you have no dispute against another party.
North Carolina Law
North Carolina law requires the driver of a vehicle involved in a severe accident to report it to local law enforcement. Any crash that caused injuries or death to any person or damages of the property of at least $1000 is a reportable accident. If the accident occurred on private property should not necessarily be reported.
If the accident happened in a city, a suitable agency to contact is the city’s police department. If the accident occurred outside city limits, contact North Carolina Highway Patrol or county sheriff’s office. In any case, when you dial 911, your emergency will be routed to the conventional agency.
Minor accidents can confuse you, and you should always have in mind that things might get complicated if you decide to work things out.
Our team of attorneys have experience in cases like these and would guide you in the further process. If you believe that your latest minor accident could cause you problems, please contact our firm today.