Car accidents are always stressful events, which can make it hard to think at the moment of the crash. The most important thing you can do following a car accident is to try and remain as calm as possible. There’s always a chance that the other driver is panicking or angry, and if neither of you is thinking straight, the situation is unlikely to be handled well.

Every driver is likely to experience an accident in their lifetime. Thankfully, the majority of these accidents are minor, and some may not even require a formal police report. There can be some benefits to not filing an accident report with the police, such as avoiding tickets or other headaches. If there was no significant damage, and no one seems to be injured, you may think it’s fine to just plan for some minor repairs and continue on your way.

Just because you don’t have to file a report, though, doesn’t always mean you shouldn’t. A police report can be useful in case facts get fuzzy or litigation comes later. It’s important to know when you need to file a police report and what to expect when you do.

When do you have to report?

You must file a police report in situations where someone was injured or killed, a driver didn’t stop at the accident scene, or if a vehicle was towed following the accident. Police should also be notified of property damages exceeding $3,000. You can report an accident by calling an emergency number, visiting a police station, or calling the Police Assistance Line. You have 24 hours to report an accident. If someone was killed or injured in the accident, it’s recommended to get legal advice before making the police report, if possible.

Police may or may not attend the accident scene, depending on the circumstances. They will attend the scene if someone is killed, trapped, or injured. They will also attend the scene if a driver refuses to share contact and insurance details, if a driver appears under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or if traffic needs to be directed due to the accident.

Requesting Accident Information

Anyone suffering injuries or property damages due to a car accident may request a copy of the collision report. There are different forms to request the report that may be used by the individual making the request or their authorized representative. There are search fees involved with these requests, and there may be subsequent charges for additional pages or searches.

Accident Aftermath

There are steps you should take following a car accident beyond making repairs. These are important for your own safety and to protect you in case of a car injury claim.

Medical Attention: You should always receive a checkup as soon as possible after a car accident, even if you don’t believe you’re injured. Some injuries, especially head injuries, can have delayed symptoms, but getting medical care can catch them early. If you were injured, immediate attention helps prove your injuries were in fact caused by the accident. This is critical if you plan to file an injury claim.

Evidence: If possible, it’s important to get photographic evidence of injuries or property damage at the accident scene. This will help highlight the truth of what happened in case facts get confused later. It’s also worthwhile to return to the scene later to record any street signs, skid marks, or other useful markings to add context to the scene.

When you file an accident claim, it may go through your own insurance company or the other driver’s, depending on circumstances and who was deemed at fault. It’s crucial that you maintain good car insurance coverage of your own to protect yourself from other driver’s claims. Compare car insurance quotes with iSelect to find the plan that best suits your needs.