Car crashes are one of the most common types of accidents that occur in the U.S. today. To give you an idea as to how many transpire on a yearly basis, in 2016 alone, there were approximately 7,277,000 police-reported traffic crashes [Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)]. While some collisions are mere fender benders and only result in minimal damage, others are much more serious, leaving those involved injured.
Now, anytime you are involved in a wreck, you are always encouraged to call the police. In fact, the Texas Department of Transportation states that you should call police when:
- Someone suffers an injury or is killed.
- One or more vehicles cannot be moved.
- You suspect one of the drivers involved is intoxicated.
- One of the drivers is not properly insured.
- One of the drivers has left the scene of the accident, also known as a hit and run accident.
But what if none of those circumstances exist? What if the driver who was responsible for causing the wreck is asking you to refrain from calling the police and requesting that you handle the matter directly with them? What should you do? Well, if you were to ask any accident lawyer, they would tell you that you should report your accident to your local police department immediately following the wreck and here’s why.
- If you don’t call the police and have them document the accident, there is really no proof showing that another driver hit you. Let’s say neither of you suffered any injuries and only your vehicles sustained minor damage. If you agree to only work with the individual and neglect to file a police report that day, you could run into some issues. For starters, what if the driver decides they don’t want to compensate you? What if you they tell you that you can come meet them tomorrow or the following day to pick up a check and you quickly learn that they provided you with the wrong address when it comes time to go retrieve it? The fact is, without a police report, there is no proof identifying who caused the accident or what damage was sustained as a result of it.
- You won’t know how much the damage is worth so the amount they offer may not be enough. Now, let’s say the individual is willing to pay you right then and there for the damage they have caused. How will you know if the amount they are providing you with is actually enough to cover the damage? The truth is, you won’t, unless you are a mechanic who is familiar with the cost of car parts and can estimate the damage on your own. But if you’re not, you risk accepting a check or even cash that won’t be enough to get your vehicle repaired. And if you later determine that you were provided with a lesser amount than what you were entitled to, there is not much you will be able to do to recover that additional amount you need.
- You may have sustained an injury and you don’t know it yet. Certain symptoms won’t show up until a few hours or even a few days later. So, while you were under the impression that you were fine and it was only your vehicle that suffered, you later learn otherwise. However, if you didn’t file a police report, accepted money from a stranger, and are now realizing a few days later that you suffered an injury, you will likely have a hard time getting anything from your insurer aside from a denial notice if you were to file a claim.
The point is, you could be putting yourself in a compromising situation when you choose to settle with the driver who hit you as opposed to contacting police and reporting the incident to your insurer. Therefore, rather than risk losing out on money you are actually entitled to receive, it is best you contact police and obtain a police report. Should you decide to not file an insurance claim and then accept a settlement from the other driver, that is your choice but it is recommended that you at least get the accident documented.
If you find that you are having difficulty getting your car accident claim paid or recovering money from the driver even after you reported your accident to police, you can always call a Dallas, TX accident lawyer for assistance. Dallas accident attorney Robert Greggis available to help you understand what your options are in the matter and will guide you in the right direction so that you are able to recover the maximum amount of compensation your damage/injuries suffered are worth.
The Law Offices of Robert Gregg can be reached at:
2024 Commerce Street
Dallas, TX 75201