In the aftermath of a car accident, you may feel quite shaken up. You may not know exactly what you should do, especially if everyone is okay. The law has specific requirements that you must follow for reporting an accident. In some cases, you may not have to contact law enforcement at all. In other situations, if you do not contact law enforcement, you could end up in trouble.
The New York Department of Motor Vehicles explains that knowing the accident reporting requirements is your responsibility as a driver. If you fail to report an accident when the law requires it, you may lose your license or even face criminal charges.
Property damage accidents
If you are in an accident where there is only property damage, you usually do not need to contact law enforcement. You should exchange your insurance, registration and driver’s license information with the other driver in every situation. If the damage is $1,000 or more, then you do not need to contact law enforcement to come to the scene, but you do need to file an accident report within 10 days.
If you hit a parked vehicle or injure someone’s pet, then you must contact law enforcement and try to find the owner. If you do not contact law enforcement, you could face charges for a hit and run.
If the accident involves injuries or a fatality, then you must always contact law enforcement right away. You also must stay at the scene to avoid hit-and-run charges. You will need to file an accident report, as well.
Making the wrong decision and not contacting law enforcement when you need to by law could land you in trouble. Not only could you face legal charges, but you may also have trouble getting insurance coverage for the accident, which could cost you a lot of money in the long run.