Should You Call the Police After a Crash if You Are Not in Pain?
Calling the police after a car accident that resulted in significant injuries or property damage is very common. However, accident victims who do not initially feel pain or see other signs of an injury may decide it is quicker and more convenient to simply exchange their information and forego contacting the police.
This is generally not a good idea because you may have sustained an injury that is either not visible or has delayed symptoms, like whiplash. Your insurance company may also require you to call the police after an accident. There are also many benefits to getting the police involved if you later pursue injury compensation.
Our Milwaukee car accident lawyers discuss this issue below. If you were hurt in a car accident, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.
Benefits of Calling the Police
There are a few benefits to calling the police after a car accident:
- Dispute resolution: The other driver may dispute that he or she was at fault for the crash. However, when you report an accident to the police, the responding officer will create an accident report that may explain who the officer thinks is to blame. If the officer says the other driver is to blame or cites him or her for a traffic violation, it can do a lot to strengthen your claim.
- Documentation: An accident report preserves important details about the accident, including where it happened, road conditions, any witness statements, details on any citations issued for the accident and many other facts that may help establish fault in a claim.
- Effective evidence: The official police assessment included in an accident report may hold more credibility than any informal statements gathered from witnesses. This is because an insurance company or jury may deem an officer’s statements to be more reliable than those of a witness.
How Do You Know You Can Trust the Other Driver?
Not calling the police is risky because there is no way you can know for sure if you should trust the other driver, particularly if he or she may have been at fault for the accident.
Even if you exchange information at the scene of an accident, there is no way for you to verify that the other driver’s information is accurate. If he or she gave you false information, you may have no way of finding this person to try to hold him or her accountable.
Additionally, you will have no official record to support your claim if the other driver denies responsibility for the accident.
State Law on Calling the Police After Car Crashes
Wisconsin law requires you to notify police immediately after a car accident if one or more of the following factors are involved in the collision:
- There are injuries or death
- The accident causes $200 or more in damage to government property
- The accident causes damage of $1,000 or more to an individual’s car or other personal property
- A vehicle requires towing from the scene
- A deer or wild animal was injured or killed in the collision
If a police officer does not respond to the accident scene, you must submit a Driver Report of Accident to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation within 10 days of the crash.
The Insurance Company May Request a Police Report
Even if you are not legally required to report the crash to police, your insurance company may still request an accident report when you file a claim. This official record is especially useful in cases where there was significant damage, and it may also help to speed up the claims process. If there is no report, you may find yourself in a “he said versus she said” tug of war. To protect yourself and your legal interests, it is always a good idea to contact the police.
What if The Police Tell You to Just Exchange Information?
There are typically only three conditions where a police officer may not come to an accident scene or may advise you to just exchange information with the other driver:
- The accident was minor and caused no injuries
- There was no property damage, or it was not significant
- The weather is hazardous and too dangerous for any first responders to get to you
If your only option is to exchange information with the other motorist, there are a few things you can do to limit the risk of getting false information. After asking to see the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license, call his or her insurance company from the accident scene to verify insurance details.
If the police tell you to exchange information, be sure to collect the following:
- Name of the driver and any passengers
- Addresses and phone numbers of all parties
- Insurance company name
- Auto insurance policy number
- Name and contact information of insurance representative, if available
- The vehicle’s license plate state and number
- Make, model, color and year of the other vehicle
- Photos of the accident scene and damage to both vehicles
Contact a Licensed Attorney for Assistance
If you have been injured in an automobile accident, we also encourage you to request a free, no obligation consultation with one of the experienced lawyers at PKSD today and learn how we may be able to help you after a car accident.
We do not collect any up-front fees if we represent you, and you only pay us if we successfully recover compensation on your behalf.