Reporting a Car Accident to the Police
Combining the stress and difficulty of enduring a car accident and then adding interactions with the police can make anybody anxious. Anybody can have difficulties managing one or both of these situations, and having some good advice can help anyone manage such an ordeal. A few questions one may have in such a predicament include:
- How do I report an incident properly?
- What do you include when reporting and how do you state it?
- Should I answer any questions?
- What if the accident was my fault?
- Should I involve the police?
A car accident can include civil and criminal liability, so it is important to report the accident correctly–the first time.
At the Accident Scene
In almost all situations, you are required by law to report an accident to the police. You should try to get yourself out of danger and contact emergency medical help immediately. Until the police and ambulance arrive, you may need to administer first aid if you are able to do so.
You do not have to provide a detailed statement to the police although you may be required to report the accident to them. If you offer too much information or change your answers to any question they may ask before and after the initial statement. You could face liability and anything you say can be used against you even if you are innocent.
Mind What You Say
Your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent may be your greatest asset in preventing the blame being shifted to you. You cannot convince the police of your innocence, so it is best to give a brief statement on the scene if they ask, but do not divulge too much. A few statements to avoid when giving a statement include:
- “It was my fault.” You should avoid taking any blame.
- “I think I know what happened…” Any speculation could be used against you to prove liability or prove that you were lying.
- Be brief and do not provide too many details, you could misremember or implicate yourself.
Do Not Consent to Any Searches
Your Fourth Amendment rights can protect you as well from any unreasonable searches. Be sure to tell the police that you do not authorize any searches of your vehicle or of your person and that you do not consent to any seizures of property.
This is so important because it can help you avoid other legal consequences for things unrelated to the initial accident reported. It also requires police officers to follow a very specific set of procedures including obtaining a warrant signed by a judge to search your property before they can gather evidence of a crime.
Contact an Attorney Immediately
Even if you are just calling your insurance to report a minor fender bender, this advice applies to you. Call an experienced lawyer today such as the Fredericksburg VA car accident lawyer to help advise you if your accident is more serious. Your insurance company may try to prove that you are either liable or being untruthful to avoid paying compensation for your damages. An attorney can help you navigate the the Insurance code more deftly and can protect you better than you can yourself. Let them talk for you. Let the attorney advise you on legal options and converse with your insurance company, likely this will lead to a more favorable outcome for you.
Thanks to Authors at Martin Wren P.C. for their insight into Personal Injury Law.