When Do I Have to Report a Car Accident?

Car accidents can take many forms, from harmless bumps to life-shattering high-speed crashes. In the case of minor fender benders, it may seem smart to shake hands with the other driver and go about your business.

However, this can set you up for trouble later on, especially if the consequences of the collision prove to be more severe than you first thought. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to contact law enforcement authorities and file a report.

Just a bump in the road? Not necessarily

Modern automobiles are technological marvels. They’re designed to offer a superior driving experience while providing safe, reliable transportation.

But all of this complexity comes with a cost, and we’re not just talking about the sticker price. Virtually every aspect of today’s automobiles is controlled by sensors and tied into the vehicle’s computer system.

At the same time, the need for ever-improving fuel economy has forced manufacturers to use lighter materials and cut corners whenever possible.
For drivers, this means that even a low-speed collision can have unforeseen effects on the vehicle’s performance.

Complicating this picture is the other intricately designed machine involved with an auto wreck: the human body. It’s not unusual for health problems to surface hours or even days after an accident.

The initial rush of adrenalin and endorphins wears off, leaving the victim to face the full extent of their injuries.

For all these reasons, it’s a good idea to report any accident, just in case the situation is worse than it first appears. Failing to do so may leave you with costly, painful problems, and no way to meet the associated expenses.

Why take a chance when so much is at stake?

What the law says

State laws vary when it comes to reporting auto wrecks. In some cases, a minor collision may require no formal report at all.

That being said, there’s no prohibition in any part of the country against filing a report. At the worst, you’ll have a written reminder to be more careful next time.

Safe driving means watching out for what other motorists are doing, not just worrying about your driving skills.

Whether you report the incident to your insurance agency is more problematic. In general, insurers require policyholders to report any collision, no matter how small. Nevertheless, some drivers hesitate to do so, fearing that their rates will go up.

However, failing to notify the company can be like a ticking time bomb, especially if you file a claim for another accident at a later date. The insurer may find out about the earlier incident and use it as an excuse to deny your claim altogether.

It’s important to remember that insurance companies are private businesses, not public resources. Sadly, they sometimes resort to questionable tactics to protect their bottom line. This can include digging up policy violations in the past.

Maybe this will happen in your case, maybe not. But is the possibility of saving a few bucks now worth exposing yourself to big trouble later on? Most people would say “no.”

When it’s time to talk to Pittsburgh car accident lawyers

It’s a good idea to seek the advice of a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer unless you’re sure that your vehicle and your health were unaffected by the crash.

A Pittsburgh car accident lawyer can help you in other ways, such as representing your interests when it comes to insurers and the other motorist.

In some cases, Pittsburgh car accident lawyers can discover vehicle defects and other unforeseen factors that contributed to the crash. You may never know about these factors unless you take the time to make the call.

Contact us today

Our attorneys have recovered more than $1 billion for their clients over the years. Their expertise in all aspects of auto accident law can make a world of difference to you as you rebuild your life.

Get in touch with us today to set up your free consultation. We’re available 24/7 for your convenience. Remember our core value is “Doing Good by Doing Right.”