Why It’s Important to Always Call the Police After an Accident
Posted on Monday, February 20th, 2023 at 5:09 pm
Car accidents can be frightening and confusing for everyone involved. When you are in a collision, you may not know what to do next. After a car accident, whether it’s serious or not, you should immediately pull over your vehicle and call the police. Here are some reasons why it may be vital to call the police after a collision:
- The police will provide an objective record of the collision: When you call the police after a car crash, they will come to the scene and create a report of the collision.
- The police can help parties exchange information: Exchanging insurance information after a collision is critical. However, sometimes the other drivers are uncooperative, and getting someone else’s insurance information may be the last thing on your mind. The police can help get the information for you and facilitate the exchange of information to ensure everyone has the details necessary to file an insurance claim.
- The police can ensure medical assistance: When the police arrive, they will assess the scene and ensure everyone receives the necessary medical assistance.
- The police can ensure your safety: Additionally, the police will direct traffic to ensure no additional collisions because of your vehicle location.
- Failure to report can result in legal issues: In Oklahoma, failing to report your collision under certain circumstances can result in legal consequences.
How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Oklahoma?
Under Oklahoma Statutes section 47-10-107, drivers must immediately report collisions involving injury or death. There is an exception if the driver is physically unable to make the report. However, any passengers should make the report if they are able.
If you are in a collision involving injury, you must stop and ensure that any injured parties get assistance right away. These requirements apply regardless of who is at fault for the crash.
If there are no injuries or death, but property damage exceeds $300, you must report the accident within six months.
Failing to report a collision that meets the criteria could result in fines, license suspension, and even jail time.
What’s Included in a Police Report?
In Oklahoma, a police report includes information about the collision. The exact details included in the report may vary depending on the nature and severity of the crash. Common information that you will see in a police report includes:
- Date, time, and location of the collision
- Names and contact information of the drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- A detailed description of how the crash occurred
- Description of any injuries or property damage sustained
- Any evidence from the scene, such as photos, videos, or other physical evidence
- Statements from the drivers and witnesses
- Identification of the at-fault party
- Any additional observations made by the responding police officer
How does Calling the Police Help with an Insurance Claim?
Often, an insurance company will request the police report for the collision to help with its investigation. Once you file an insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will handle your case. The adjuster will investigate the claim and negotiate a settlement.
Using the information in the police report can give the adjuster a head start on who is at fault, what injuries were sustained, and whom to contact to discuss the circumstances of the collision. If the police report says the insurance company’s insured driver was at-fault, it does not necessarily mean the insurance adjuster will accept that as fact. However, it provides solid evidence showing the insurance company should accept liability.
What to Do Immediately After You Call the Police
After you contact the police, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself, including:
- Get medical attention: If you were injured in the collision, you should seek medical attention immediately by letting the police officer know you want to be checked out by emergency services. Some injuries, such as whiplash, may not manifest until several hours or days after a collision. So, you should also see a doctor even if you don’t feel injured. This will help ensure that you do not have any injuries you haven’t noticed.
- Take photos of the scene: The police officer should take photos of the scene of the collision, the vehicles involved, and any injuries sustained. However, you should also take photos to ensure you have evidence for your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Calling the police is crucial after a car crash because it can protect you from legal consequences. It also helps provide the evidence necessary for your insurance claim or lawsuit. If you were injured in a collision caused by another person, the experienced attorneys of Abel Law Firm are here to help. We can review the facts of your case and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
To discuss your legal options during a free consultation, contact us through our online contact form or at (405) 239-7046.