Should You Call the Police After an Accident?

Many victims involved in auto accidents in Kansas City are afraid to call the police. They believe calling the police will lead to tickets and fines for infractions, as well as a possible arrest if they broke any state laws. Yet a police officer’s presence at the scene of your accident could be crucial to your future injury claim. Dialing 911 from the scene of your accident could make all the difference during your fight for fair financial compensation later.

The Law Requires the Reporting of Serious Accidents

You should always call the police after an accident that meets your state’s minimum requirements for reporting. These requirements differ depending on whether your accident occurs in Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas City, Kansas. In both Missouri and Kansas, you must call 911 and report a wreck from the scene if it causes personal injuries or deaths, or if it involves a parked vehicle damaged without the owner present. In Missouri, you must also call the police if the crash appears to have caused $500 or more in property damages, while the threshold is $1,000 in property damages in Kansas.

Reporting your accident involves contacting the nearest police authority’s office in your state. This may be your local police department, the county sheriff or your state’s highway patrol office. You must report your accident immediately if it meets your state’s threshold. Most drivers use their cellphones to adhere to this law. The only exception is if you hit a parked vehicle, in which case you must report the accident without unnecessary delay rather than immediately. If you are physically incapable of reporting the accident, someone else at the scene who is 18 or older should make the report.

If you fail to report a car accident that the law in your state requires you to report, you could face serious penalties. Failing to call 911 for a reportable car accident could fulfill the definition of a hit-and-run accident. This is a crime in which a driver leaves the scene of a crash without fulfilling his or her legal obligations – including calling the police for a serious collision. The penalties you may face for an illegal failure to report a crash include fines, jail time and the suspension of your driving privileges. When in doubt, call the police after an auto accident.

Why You Should Always Call the Police

While it is important to know the reporting requirements in your state, you should always call 911 after a car accident in Kansas City, regardless of crash severity. The police are there to help you, not to cause more stress. Calling the police to the scene helps protect your rights and preserve key evidence and information you could use later. Requesting a police officer to the scene of your car accident could have many benefits for your overall claim.

  • Immediate medical care. The police can send an ambulance to your location if you have serious injuries from the auto accident. Prompt medical care can show an insurance company you did your part to treat your injuries.
  • Evidence preservation. The police can tape off the area around your car accident to give investigators time to take photographs, collect evidence and document the crash before cleanup. Protecting the scene of the crash can allow investigators to preserve important evidence.
  • Information collection. The responding officer(s) can speak to eyewitnesses at the scene, obtain their statements, take official photographs and create an official report of the vehicle collision.

The police report can be a critical piece of evidence during your insurance claim or a car accident lawsuit. Your Kansas City car accident attorney can use this report which contains key information, such as whether the police cited the other driver for a traffic infraction that may have caused your crash. Always call the police after an accident if you wish to protect your rights and improve the strength of your claim to damages.