What To Do If You Did Not Contact The Police After Your Car Accident
Being involved in a car accident is always a nerve-wracking experience. Many people forget to contact the police after a crash, and others do not know that they have a legal obligation to call law enforcement. Knowing what to do if you did not contact the police after your car accident in Tennessee is important. What are the consequences of not reporting a car crash to law enforcement? At Labrum Law, our knowledgeable attorneys represent people who have been involved in car accidents and may not understand their rights and obligations. Our attorneys offer free consultations for accident victims and help their clients navigate the laws surrounding car accidents in Tennessee. Call (615) 338-9500 to schedule your consultation.
Does Tennessee Law Require Motorists to Call the Police After a Car Accident?
Under Tennessee Code § 55-10-106, all motorists are legally required to report motor vehicle accidents to local law enforcement agencies when such accidents result in one or more of the following:
- Personal property damage exceeding $50.00
The accident reporting requirement applies to accidents that occur on public roadways, highways, and even parking lots and other private properties. Learning what to do if you did not contact the police after your car accident, however, is essential in case you ever find yourself in that situation. If a driver did not call the police at the scene of the crash, it is still the driver's responsibility to report the accident after the fact.
How Long Do Tennessee Motorists Have to File an Accident Report?
Tennessee Code § 55-12-104 requires motorists or vehicle owners to file an accident report with the Tennessee Department of Safety within twenty days of the crash. This requirement applies to all accidents that involve injuries, death, or at least $50.00 in personal property damage.
What Happens If You Do Not Report the Accident to the Police?
If a motorist or vehicle owner fails to report the automobile accident within twenty days, their driver's license and registration may be suspended, according to the Tennessee State Government. If a driver is a non-resident, failure to report the accident may result in the suspension of their operating privileges. The requirement to file an accident report exists regardless of fault for the accident. When filing the report, the motorist must also submit a report prepared by a police officer, if any.
Will the Police Arrive at the Scene?
Sometimes, the police may not come to the scene even after a driver involved in the accident contacts law enforcement. The police are less likely to respond to a car accident that does not result in death, injuries, or significant property damage. However, even if the police do not arrive at the scene, motorists or vehicle owners must still file an accident report. Reporting the accident is a requirement under Tennessee law. Having a report is also critical for obtaining compensation later on.
What To Do If the Police Do Not Show Up
While drivers should gather all available pieces of evidence at the scene of the crash, regardless of whether or not the police arrive at the scene, doing so becomes even more important if the police do not show up. Drivers involved in the crash should exchange information, take photos, talk to witnesses, and collect other types of evidence at the accident scene. The knowledgeable car accident attorneys at Labrum Law assist accident victims with gathering evidence following a crash, regardless of whether the police arrived at the scene.
Why Should Motorists Get a Police Report?
Many people who wonder what to do if you did not contact the police after your car accident do not understand the importance of getting a police report for their future personal injury and/or property damage claim. In addition to providing detailed and accurate documentation of the crash by an unbiased party (the responding police officer), the report will serve as an invaluable piece of evidence in the motorist's personal injury and/or property damage claim. In most cases, insurance companies are not willing to provide compensation if there is no accident report.
Many drivers who do not contact the police after their crash later regret not reporting the accident to law enforcement, especially when their injuries did not show up immediately. Often, drivers do not report their car accident to the police because they mistakenly believe that they were not injured. However, some injuries take time to appear. Without the report, the injured party could have a hard time proving that their injury was caused by the car crash.
How to Obtain an Accident Report in Tennessee
One of the steps motorists should take after being involved in a car accident in Tennessee is to obtain an accident report. The report will be used during the insurance claims process to seek compensation for any losses and damages. If the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) were on scene to investigate the accident, the motorist or vehicle owner would have to get a copy of the accident report by visiting the THP office or requesting a copy via mail.
If the accident was investigated by another law enforcement agency, such as a local police department or the sheriff's office, the motorist or vehicle owner could obtain a copy of the report by visiting the agency's office. According to the Tennessee State Government, motorists who wish to obtain a copy of the accident report must provide the following information:
- The accident date
- The accident location
- The names of the parties involved in the crash
- The agency's tracking number
Should a Motorist File an Insurance Claim Without a Police Report?
Generally, insurance companies deny personal injury claims filed by motorists who do not submit a copy of the police report. The insurer may reject the motorist's claim because there is no evidence that the accident occurred. If a motorist did not contact the police after the crash, he or she might consider contacting an experienced car accident attorney to help them navigate the insurance claims process.
At Labrum Law, our dedicated and experienced attorneys can help you understand what to do if you did not contact the police after your car accident and assist you with filing an insurance claim for the compensation you deserve. Consider calling (615) 338-9500 to schedule a consultation.