Do Minor Vehicle Accidents Need to Be Reported?

When most people picture and automobile accident, they imagine totaled vehicles and serious injuries. However, most accidents involve only minor injuries and vehicle damage, which often leaves people wondering if they should file a report. There are several things you must take into consideration before making that decision.

You must understand that not all drivers are honest, and not all injuries are noticeable immediately after an accident. Not reporting the accident could put you at risk for liability and not having your injuries or damages covered by your insurance. On the other hand, reporting each accident will protect you from possibly unforeseen consequences. You will ensure you are on the right side of the law and not risk unnecessary fines or jail time.

Legal Requirement

If you are involved in a minor accident, you might be tempted to not report it, but this could be a violation of the law. Legal trouble will further complicate and prolong the process of resolving the accident and any related disputes. It could leave a negative mark on your driving record, which will likely result in increased insurance rates.

The laws regarding accident reporting vary from state to state. In some cases, you are only required to report accidents that result in injuries. But other states require the reporting of any accident that involves vehicle damage. Unless you are completely certain of your state and local laws, your best option is to report all accidents. Putting yourself at risk for incurring legal trouble is not worth it.

Dishonest Drivers

In some cases, the other driver might tell you he wants to resolve the accident without involving law enforcement or insurance companies, but it’s important to consider some people might not have honest intentions. Even if they promise to pay for vehicle damage or personal injury, there is no way to ensure they will follow through without filing a formal report.

Without any documentation of the accident, there is no way to verify whether or not it occurred, so you will be relying entirely on the good intentions of the other driver. If you want the best chance of receiving compensation, you must report the accident as soon as safely possible.

Insurance Coverage

Many people avoid reporting minor accidents due to fear of increased insurance rates. Depending on who is at fault, increased rates are a possibility, but the penalty for not reporting an accident could be much worse. All insurance companies require their customers report all accidents.

If you don’t report your accident, you could face heavy fines or, you might be dropped by your insurance company. While it might seem unlikely for your insurance company to find out, the other driver could easily change their mind and report the accident, or a witness could report the accident to police; this would leave you in a bad position with both the police and your insurance company.

Possible Injuries

People involved in accidents often report they were not injured, but later discover otherwise. When an accident occurs, the fight or flight response is often triggered, which results in an adrenaline rush. With adrenaline in your body, you might not notice any pain or injuries.

But when the adrenaline fades, you might notice previously undetected injuries. If you never reported the accident, it will be difficult to receive assistance with your medical bills. The other driver could easily say the accident never happened. Without proof of the accident, your insurance company will not be compelled to help.

If you try to take it to court, you could risk legal action for not reporting the accident, so you won’t have many options. But reporting the accident protects you and ensures you won’t have to face possible injuries alone. If you discover injuries after the accident, you can still report them without risking legal charges, and your insurance company will be more likely to assist you with any expenses.