Do I Have to Report a Fender Bender in Pennsylvania?
Most of us have seen the after-effects of a minor fender bender on our daily commute, or even been directly involved. While most of the attention on accidents is focused on those with serious injuries, it can be challenging to know how to proceed after a minor crash.
After a serious collision, you are required to notify both law enforcement officials as well as your insurance provider. In minor accidents, these requirements are not as precise.
If you are unsure what steps to take after a car accident, a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer might be able to help. By discussing your case with seasoned attorneys, you could develop an action plan.
Filing an accident report with the police
The most pressing concern is whether or not you should call the police. You have the right to do so after any collision. That said, you are only required under certain circumstances. Contacting the police is mandatory when an accident:
- Involves any degree of injury to anyone involved
- Involves a fatality
- Results in vehicle damage so severe at least one car is immobile
Following any of these conditions, you are required to report the accident to the police. That said, the police can take some time to arrive at the scene. When there are no injuries, they may never appear at all. This does not absolve you of the requirement to notify the state. Instead, you must file a report with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Further, filing an accident report is often beneficial. It serves as a record in case the other driver disputes what happened. The report can make a note of your physical condition after the crash and also record any damage to your vehicle that might not otherwise be obvious.
However, if no one was hurt in the collision and both cars are drivable, you are under no obligation to report it to the police. They are not required to take a report on a minor accident, and in some jurisdictions will refuse to do so. After exchanging insurance information, both drivers are free to leave the scene as they see fit.
Informing your insurance company
Informing your insurance company after a crash is usually mandatory if your vehicle was damaged in any way.
This requirement is not mandated by state law. Instead, your insurance policy will dictate the specific requirements you must follow. For most policies, you are required to notify them as soon as possible. This is true even if you have no plan to file a claim.
It is crucial that you comply with the requirements of your policy. Should you fail to do so, your insurer could assert that you did not assist in their investigation.
This could be detrimental to any claim you might ultimately file, as it could provide the insurance company grounds for denial. In some cases, it could even lead to the cancellation of your policy. Carefully review these requirements after every accident.
Contact us today
Some car accidents are not as minor as they might first appear. You could benefit from a consultation with a Pittsburgh car accident attorney.
Chaffin Luhana proudly serves as advocates for the injured throughout Pennsylvania. If you have questions about your rights after a crash or believe you are entitled to compensation, schedule a free case evaluation as soon as possible.