Things to Keep in Mind When Reporting a Car Accident to Police


After you’ve been in a car accident in Arizona, you should take specific steps to both protect your rights and increase your odds of recovering compensation later. One of the most important steps included in this process is filing a car accident report. The police officers dispatched to the scene can help you with filing a report, but you have to contact them immediately after the collision. 

Depending on the severity of the accident, emergency services will likely show up at the scene along with law enforcement. The officers will then look into who was at fault in the accident, how the collision occurred, and who it affected. The accident report filed based on this information might provide valuable evidence for your claim later on.

What to Keep in Mind for Reporting an Accident to Police

  • The first thing you should do after a car accident is call the police
  • Don’t make any statements to the other driver about who was at fault after the collision
  • The police report from your accident can help support your case for recovering compensation 
  • Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been hurt, you should see a doctor after an accident, and hold onto your medical records
  • Working with an attorney is essential if you’ve been in a car accident and wish to pursue a personal injury lawsuit

Steps for Reporting a Motor Vehicle Accident 

First, call 911 and ask them to send emergency personnel if there were people injured. This will enable any hurt passengers or drivers involved to seek medical assistance. Having law enforcement on scene will help reduce tensions and reduce conflict between the drivers affected by the collision. It will also ensure that an official, proper police report is made that shows accurate information about the accident. 

You’ll need to give the police your name and contact info along with your driver’s license. Collect contact information from all of the other drivers involved and, if possible, from witnesses. Take photos at the scene and document the license plate numbers of the vehicles involved.

What does Compensation Cover?

Getting in a car accident can be expensive and stressful. Fortunately, you can recover damages to help you cover the expenses that come along with this inconvenience. Compensation can cover lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and permanent disability or disfigurement. 

Make sure that you hold onto any information that can help prove the damages you’ve suffered. This includes the police report from the accident, medical bills, and a statement from your employer about the work you’ve missed. If you’ve gone to visit a therapist due to accident-related suffering (such as PTSD) from the incident, you should also hold onto information about that.

How to Prove an Injury

If you were injured in a car accident, you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault in order to recover compensation for damages. To prove your injury, hold onto all receipts and bills regarding your medical treatment. If you had any prescriptions, keep the records related to filling them. 

You can also keep a “pain journal” that details the severity of your injury and the healing process. If you had to miss work due to the injury, include information about that, as well. Don’t sign a release of liability form with the insurance company, as this will make it impossible to recover damages later for delayed pain such as whiplash. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Reporting an Accident

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions related to reporting a car accident: 

Q: Why does the police report matter?

The police report will have essential information regarding the accident, the identities of the people involved, and (if applicable) witness statements. It will also include auto insurance information for the drivers, the date and time of the collision, whether any citations were issued, a description of the crash, and more. Without a report, the insurance company may claim that the accident wasn’t very serious.

Q: How much time do I have to file a report after an accident?

You should report a crash right after it happens and remain on scene until the police arrive so that they can file a report. According to Arizona law, the police must respond and make their report within 24 hours of the investigation.

Q: How long do I have to file a lawsuit after a car accident?

Arizona has a 2-year Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases, meaning you must file your lawsuit within two years of the accident. If you don’t file your claim within this period, you will miss out on recovering compensation for your injuries. It’s important to speak with a personal injury attorney right away as this increases your chances of a successful case.

Q: Do I have to go to court if I pursue a car accident lawsuit?

Most car accident claims don’t end up going to trial and are usually resolved with insurance adjusters and settlement negotiations. In some cases, where the two parties can’t agree on what “fair compensation” should be for the injuries, it’s necessary to take the claim to court. 

But regardless of whether you take your case to court, working with an attorney is essential. If you hire legal help, the opposing attorney or insurance adjustor will know you’re willing to take your case to court if necessary, which will help your case.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured

Even if the injury seems slight or non-existent, it’s crucial that you get medical attention immediately after you’ve been in a car accident. Some injuries, like internal bleeding or concussions will not be apparent right away. Not only will you potentially prevent worsening your condition but seeing a doctor right way will help your injury case due to the resulting documentation. 

You should speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after seeking medical attention. An experienced legal professional will help you build your case and increase your odds of recovering compensation. 

Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.

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