To Call or not Call the Police After a Car Accident

Police car on the street at night

Because car accidents are highly unpredictable most people go through a state of confusion for up to 30 minutes after the accident has occurred. Unfortunately, that’s also enough time for legal problems to occur that can make an accident a lot worse if the wrong decisions are made, particularly as to whether a police officer should be involved.

Figuring Out What To Do After a Car Wreck

In a tactical world, the first step after a shock event is to assess the situation quickly. For the average person, it involves stopping and turning off the car, checking yourself and checking any passengers for serious harm or immediate medical need. The second thing to do is to do the same for any other driver in initial contact. If anyone is hurt or bleeding, don’t guess – just call 911 for medical assistance. The local fire department who usually responds first can then decide what needs to be applied.

Car Wreck Damage Assessment

If you’re fine and no one needs immediate medical assistance, then the next step is to get out of the car, get to a safe part of the street or highway edge, and look at what has happened with your car versus everyone else. Don’t worry about responsibility or fault right away. If the accident is on the highway and its busy, there’s a good chance a highway patrol is going to eventually show up within a few minutes regardless.

If on a regular street and the accident has effectively blocked the road, call the police as they will need to control traffic and arrange for safe towing. Do not leave the incident until you have shared your identification with other drivers and you have their information and insurance provider contact data. Taking off otherwise could get you charged with a hit and run offense.

Looking at the damage, take photos with your phone if possible. These will be critical for your insurance provider. Make sure to photograph the entire surrounding and other cars, not just your car alone. If the damage is slight and both cars or your car is drivable, then there is no need for a police presence and the exchange of contact information and witness info is enough. You will then report the event to your insurance provider and state DMV office when possible.

Calling the Police After the Car Wreck

If the damage is significant or the other party refuses to be cooperative or is even combative, call the police. A police officer can easily control the other party and contain the situation. If the other party is extremely agitated and screaming, stay in your car and call the police. Remain there unless your safety is immediately threatened by serious harm. When the police show up, they will restrain the agitated person and you will not be charged for any altercation if you remain calm.

When you are safe, have received medical attention if needed, and you can easily manage your phone, call an attorney to protect your legal rights and damage recovery. Even with an insurance provider agreeing to your claim, you may still be leaving potential on the table. Only a licensed attorney advocate like the Dashner Law Firm can fully assess your legal situation for your best path going forward from an accident.