Home Accident What Happens If You Don't Report A Car Accident (Overview)

What Happens If You Don’t Report A Car Accident (Overview)

What happens if you don’t report a car accident?

What are the consequences?

What are the important elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our auto accident!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What happens if you don’t report a car accident 

Every jurisdiction will have its own specific rules with regards to how a driver must report a car accident.

It’s also worth noting that not all accidents have to be reported to the police.

If an accident falls in the category of a reportable accident and you don’t report it, in many states, you can expect:

  • To have your driver’s license suspended
  • Have criminal charges pressed against you
  • Be issued a substantial fine
  • Potentially be exposed to jail time 

Reporting a car accident to the authorities can lead to severe penalties, fines, or criminal consequences depending on the nature of the accident and where the accident took place.

Here are some cases where car accidents must be reported:

  • When the damages to the vehicles exceed the minimum limit set by the state (some states set a limit of $250, $1,000, $2,000 or more)
  • If there’s a government vehicle involved 
  • If a pedestrian is involved 
  • If someone is injured 
  • If the accident results from a criminal offense
  • If a driver was not insured at the moment of the accident 

It’s best practice to report an accident to the police when it happens as damages may manifest themselves in the days or weeks after the accident.

In that case, you’d want to have proper records taken of the accident to protect yourself from a legal point of view with the authorities but to also have the proper evidence in case someone attempts to file a civil lawsuit against you for damages.

When do you need to report an auto accident

Injuries

In the U.S., many states require that car accidents be reported when physical injuries are suffered.

In cases when the damages are just material (damages to the car or property), you may have to report the accident if the damages suffered exceed $1,000 or other minimum thresholds established by the state where the accident occurred.

Failure to provide contact information 

Typically, on the scene of the accident, the drivers must exchange their contact information with one another.

In addition to that, all insurance policy information should also be exchanged.

In most cases, the drivers will exchange their information voluntarily.

However, if a driver refuses to collaborate, you can contact the law enforcement officers to provide you further support.

Dispute over cause of accident

Another instance when an accident will be reported to the authorities is when the drivers have a dispute over the cause of the accident.

In that case, by calling the police authorities, they may provide the necessary help and support to try to resolve the dispute.

In this context, the police will interview witnesses and take notes on what could have been the cause of the accident.

What happens if you don’t report a car accident to the insurance provider

Do you have to report the car accident to your insurance provider?

In many states, there are no “legal” obligations to report an accident to the insurance provider.

However, most insurance policies require that the driver involved in an accident report the accident to them whether or not they were at fault.

No matter how big or small the accident, your car insurance policy will require that you report it to them.

However, many choose not to report their accident to their insurance broker or company to avoid seeing an increase in their car insurance premiums.

The consequence of not adequately reporting an accident to your insurance company can result in them increasing your rates or canceling your policy. 

Takeaways 

So what is the legal definition of What happens if you don’t report a car accident?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

What happens if you don’t report a car accident:

  • Not “all” accidents must be reported to the authorities particularly if they are minor, the drivers agree on the cause of the accident, they voluntarily document the scene and exchange their information and have proper insurance
  • In other cases, the laws of the state where the accident occurred will require that you report the accident particularly when there are bodily injuries, when a driver is not insured, when pedestrians are involved, when material damages exceed a minimum threshold 
  • Failure to report an accident can lead to criminal accusations, important fines, driver’s license suspension and even jail time
Car accident
Car insurance claims 
Car insurance 
Casualty insurance 
Civil lawsuit 
No-fault insurance 
Personal injury lawyer 
Personal injury 
Personal liability 
Police report 
Property damage 
Statute of limitations 
Subrogation 
Third-party auto insurance 
Vehicle damage
Author
Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!

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