Consequences of Failing to Stop and Report after an Auto Accident
If you are involved in an automobile accident, the first thing you are required to do by law is to stop and wait for the police to arrive so you can report the accident. A lot of people are not aware that failure to report an accident is illegal and can have legal consequences afterwards.
First of all, if you do not stop to check the victim after an accident, and simply move on, it will be considered a ‘hit and run’. The problem with hit and runs is that they are not covered by insurance policies most of the time. This means that the victim is left with injuries or damages which they may not be able to pay for with their insurance policy. Therefore, it is required by law that you stop and assist the possible victims and provide information to the police including your license information, vehicle registration information and other contact details. A lot of people think that simply giving details about the accident is enough, but that is not the case.
When people are involved in auto accidents, they may feel that the accident was too small to report or they may be afraid to file the report. Others may feel that they are not required to report it; but this is not the case. Failure to report an accident can cause more problems than just the accident alone. Most accidents happen without intent, which is one of the main reasons why people ignore to report them. Deliberate accidents, where the person at fault leaves the scene immediately, are punished by law. Therefore, it is required that you report an accident to prevent it from becoming a hit and run.
Depending on the state where the accident occurred, you could be required to file different reports. These reports have to be filed with the police, your insurance company and the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Each of the reports has different requirements which are given below:
Report filed with the Police – If the accident caused at least $500 in damages or if the accident caused personal injury, then the report has to be filed with the police or other law enforcement agency. In most cases you will be required to report in person at the police station, but if that is not possible, the officers may take the reports over phone.
Insurance company – If your car was involved in an accident, your insurance company will require you to file a report with them promptly. Failure to do so may result in a denial of coverage. In most cases, your insurance provider will require a recorded statement which should be given after consultation with your attorney. Remember, the time frame to notify the insurance company is very short so you must act quickly to avoid your coverage being cancelled.
DMV – Same as in the case of reporting the accident to police, any driver involved in an accident causing injury or property damage exceeding $500 is required to file an SR-1 form. This report needs to be filed within five to ten days of the accident. In case the accident involved personal injury, it is better to consult an auto accident attorney before filing the DMV report.
If you fail to file the reports your driving privileges can be revoked and you may also have to pay a fine of $30 to $100.