With so much happening after a car accident, it’s easy to make a mistake that you’ll later regret.
For example, after a minor accident, you may assume there’s no good reason to call the police. Or maybe the other driver tells you that there’s no need to involve the police.
Let’s cut right to the chase: It doesn’t matter if it’s a serious or minor accident, it’s always a good idea to contact the police for assistance. Don’t let anyone talk you out of doing this, and here’s why.
Why it’s a good idea to call the police after a car accident
There’s a lot that can go wrong in the aftermath of a car accident, even one that you consider minor. Here are four reasons why you need to call the police:
Reason 1: The police officer can take control of the scene to ensure everyone's safety
You have enough to worry about, ranging from your injuries to the damage to your vehicle. It’s not your responsibility to also take control of the scene, such as by directing traffic. Once a police officer arrives, you can rest assured that he or she will manage the accident scene until it’s no longer necessary to do so.
Reason 2: To ensure that there’s an official police report to use in your insurance claim
If an officer doesn’t arrive at the scene, there won’t be a police report until you or the other driver files one in-person or online. But if you’re busy recovering from injuries in the hospital, or dealing with a car replacement, you might not have the time. And without this piece of evidence, you don’t have any “official” information to lean on when filing an insurance claim or facing off against the other driver in court. A police report is one of the best pieces of evidence you can collect.
Reason 3: For insurance purposes
In short, the insurance adjuster must be able to confirm the details of the accident. The easiest way for them to do so is to review the police report in its entirety. In the event a police officer does respond to the scene but you’re afraid the report contains errors concerning the details of what happened, learn how to fix mistakes on a police report.
Reason 4: To keep you safe
This means many things. Maybe the officer needs to provide first aid until paramedics arrive. Maybe the officer needs to protect you from the other driver, who remains aggressive. Perhaps they need to reroute traffic so that another vehicle doesn’t strike you. Calling a police officer after an accident gives you added safety in a vulnerable situation
Tip: If you can’t make the call on your own, ask a passenger or witness to the accident to do so.
What if the other driver insists on not calling the police after the accident?
You know that calling the police is the right thing to do. However, the other driver may beg and plead for you to leave the police out of it.
Even if you feel bad about calling the police, don’t be persuaded not to. Here are some of the reasons why the other driver may not want you to call law enforcement:
- They don’t have the minimum insurance coverage required by Texas law
- They are driving on a revoked or suspended license
- They are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- They have a warrant out for their arrest
- They are driving a stolen vehicle
- The accident was the result of criminal activity
The other driver may try to persuade you not to call the police by saying they’ll pay you cash on the spot. They may even agree to give you more money than what you appear to need to make the necessary repairs to your damaged car.
As tempting as it may be to accept the other driver’s offer, this isn’t a mistake you want to make. Here’s why:
- You don’t know yet how much it’ll cost to repair your vehicle
- The other driver could give you a bad check (if they don’t offer cash) or reverse the money charges (if making electronic transaction)
- There is likely to be other damages, such as medical bills, long-term care, and rental car expenses
Even if you feel like taking the money and putting the accident behind you, don’t go down this path. Simply tell the other driver that you feel safer if the police were involved.
Next step: Call Houston's Johnson Garcia LLP car accident lawyers
Once you call the police, you can rest easy knowing that the responding officer(s) will take control of the scene and create an official police report.
From there, your attention should turn to receiving medical treatment and a formal diagnosis.
Tip: Don’t ever assume that you’re okay, or that you can treat your injuries at home. Not only does this put your health at risk, but it could impact your ability to obtain the compensation you may deserve.
Once you have a defined treatment strategy, turn your focus to the cause of your accident and the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.
By contacting a Houston car accident attorney, you’ll have an experienced aggressive injury attorney on your side who can explain what’s happening, answer your questions, and fight to ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your damages. Give us a call today to schedule your free consultation with Johnson Garcia LLP Houston car accident lawyers.