Why Should I Report My Car Accident?
Every state has unique laws when it comes to reporting traffic accidents, but ultimately the best rule to follow is to report any auto accident that results in any kind of injury or death. Failure to report an accident as required could not only jeopardize your insurance coverage but also lead to criminal charges for hit-and-run.
Arizona Accident Reporting Laws
Most states, including Arizona, require drivers to report any accident that results in injury or death to anyone over a certain dollar value, usually $500 or $1,000. All drivers should know their states’ accident reporting laws and always err on the side of caution; if you are unsure whether you need to report an accident, it is always best to report it, even if you know you bear liability for the damages. Your liability will likely pale in comparison to the potential criminal charges and civil liability you risk by failing to report.
The other driver may want to come to an understanding for the damages so you both can avoid potentially expensive insurance and legal issues but remember that most auto policies require you to report any accident, even if you do not want to file a claim. An auto accident inherently deteriorates the safety of your vehicle, even after repairs. Some accidents cause wear-and-tear throughout the vehicle that may not be detectable immediately after an accident but cause serious problems later. Failure to report an accident to your insurance carrier could compromise your coverage or lead to a claim denial if you attempt to file a claim for an unreported accident later.
What Is Hit-and-Run?
A hit-and-run is any time a driver causes an accident and then flees the scene, either knowingly or unintentionally. For example, a driver turns onto a street and strikes a parked car. The driver backs up and it appears the damage is a scratch on the bumper, so the driver leaves. The vehicle was outside the owner’s home, and the owner saw the accident from the window and took the driver’s license plate number. The accident ruptured the gas tank and damaged the frame of the vehicle, necessitating thousands of dollars in repairs. The vehicle owner reports the driver who left the scene, and that driver now faces liability for the damages and for criminal hit-and run.
Other hit-and-run cases are more obvious yet more difficult to prove. For example, a driver could get into an accident and then simply refuse to stop and leave the other driver in the road wondering what to do next. Hit-and-run accidents may also involve pedestrians or cyclists, and any driver found responsible for a hit-and-run accident who knowingly fled the scene of the crash will face fines, jail time, restitution to the victims, driver’s license suspension, and possibly even more penalties depending on the severity of the damages. Contact a Phoenix pedestrian accident lawyer if you were involved in a hit and run as a pedestrian.
Why Reporting a Phoenix Car Accident Is in Your Best Interests
Reporting your accident immediately is generally the best option following any accident, even if the damages appear moderate and no one suffered any serious injuries. Failure to report as required could interfere with your insurance coverage and may even disqualify you from coverage, but the most significant possible negative consequence would be facing criminal hit-and-run charges.
Once you report an accident the police will file a report of their findings. Having this report filed as soon as possible after your accident makes it easier to assess your damages and start the recovery process through legal action. You also face a smaller chance of pushback from an insurance carrier if you file your claim in a timely manner. Ultimately, you should report any accident that results in any noticeable vehicle damage or injuries to anyone involved. Once you handle the immediate aftermath, speak with a Phoenix accident attorney about your best options for recovery.
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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.