Getting into a car crash is a scary experience, and many people suffer serious injuries. Some people are understandably confused about what to do in the aftermath.
As experiencedGlen Falls car accident lawyers, we highly recommend calling the police at the scene of the accident. An officer can come out and create an accident report which will prove helpful in your case. Below, we give 5 reasons why you should report the accident to the police soon after getting into a wreck.
Reason 1: You Probably Have to Report the Accident to Comply with the Law
Under Section 600-2a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law, a driver who knows they have caused a personal injury in an accident “shall” share their name and personal information with a police officer “in the vicinity” of the accident. If there is no officer there, then the driver must report the accident to the police as soon as possible.
The easiest way to fulfill this duty is to use your cell phone to call the police. Tell them you have been in an accident and identify the location.
Any violation of this law is a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. If this is your second violation, or if there was a serious bodily injury caused by the crash, then you can face Class E felony charges with even more severe consequences.
Reason #2: An Officer Can Check for Suspected Drunk Driving
You might suspect that the person who struck you was intoxicated or high. Maybe their speech is slurred or their breath reeks of alcohol. Other signs are stumbling around or even exiting the vehicle while gripping a beer bottle.
An officer can ask the driver to take field sobriety tests or might even request a breath sample. This evidence could prove very critical if you need to file a car accident claim. Driving while drunk is not only a crime; it also makes someone liable when they injure you.
If you don’t call the officer, then it’s much harder to establish intoxication. Nothing is as helpful as a breathalyzer result.
Reason #3: Insurance Companies Like to See a Report
The report helps establish that an accident actually happened, along with the date and location. If you don’t call the police, an insurer might suspect you crashed your car yourself. In that situation, it might be harder to tap uninsured motorist benefits because you were driving negligently at the time.
Without a crash report, you can expect your claim to get bogged down with the insurance company. It’s best just to call for an officer.
Reason #4: You Can Share Information about a Hit-and-Run Driver
An alarming number of accidents in Glen Falls are hit and runs. Helpfully, the police can search for the driver, so it is important to share whatever information you have:
- The make and model of the car that struck you
- The color and any identifying features, like bumper stickers
- A description of the driver, such as sex, race, eyeglasses, and so forth
- The direction where the car fled
If you report the hit and run promptly, then they can get a jump on searching for the criminal who struck you.
Reason #5: The Officer Can Talk to Witnesses
Eyewitnesses play a big role in some Glen Falls car accident cases. A witness can establish what happened. Did someone run a red light? Was the driver who rear-ended you tailgating for miles? Often, there is no video evidence of how an accident unfolded, so witnesses are the best evidence to answer the question “what happened?”
Of course, you can also talk to witnesses after the crash. You don’t really need an officer to do that for you. But you might be badly injured, in which case you can’t really do anything but wait for an ambulance to come. If you ask someone to call the cops, then the officer can come out and talk with witnesses, get their names, and other information.
Some witnesses might not stick around or talk to you unless they know a police officer is coming. This is another good reason to call and report the accident.
What if You Are Unconscious or Badly Hurt?
We realize not everyone can call a police officer. You might be paralyzed after an accident or knocked unconscious. Some victims are in excruciating pain. If possible, ask someone to call the police at the same time they call for an ambulance.
As soon as you finish treatment at the hospital, call Larson & Gallivan Law. Our car accident lawyer can begin gathering evidence to use for your case. We are only a phone call away: 518-862-8799.