Although it may seem frivolous, especially if only involved in a minor fender bender, it is best to report all car accidents to the police.
If the accident is a serious one or results in injuries, it's critical the police are called. In some localities, an officer will only be dispatched if someone has been injured, but you should call 911 regardless and notify them that you've been involved in an accident.
If the officer does come, he or she will make a traffic collision report that documents the details of the accident. If the police don't come to the scene for some reason, you should file a walk-in report at the station.
Among other things, the report will record the personal and insurance information of each individual, take separate statements from each party, note any physical evidence, and assess which driver is at fault. This report can later provide proof for your own insurance claim or refute false allegations made by a dishonest individual.
Without the report or some other proof of your claims, it may be very difficult to later prove or deny fault or to receive an appropriate settlement.
Whether or not the officer comes quickly to the scene of the accident, write down the license plate numbers of any vehicles involved.
Then, regardless of who is at fault, exchange the following information with all drivers involved: name, address, phone number, auto insurance information and policy number, and driver’s license number.
If you have a camera on you, it's also a good idea to take photos of the scene and of any damage.
This can all be difficult to remember, especially when you're in shock right after an accident. To help, we've created a free car accident checklist for you to keep in your glove compartment in case you're ever in a car accident.
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