Should I Report a Truck Accident to the Police?
Posted on February 13th, 2021 by Zane Cagle
Yes, you should report every accident to the police. It’s hard knowing the right course of action to take in the aftermath of a traumatic incident, especially when the incident in question is a collision with a tractor-trailer, dump truck, bus, or any other large commercial vehicle. It’s important to check yourself and anyone else involved for injuries and, if need be, call an ambulance. But what about after that?
A question that every St. Louis truck accident lawyer at The Cagle Law Firm has heard at least once is, “Should I report a truck accident to the police?” If the accident was a relatively minor fender-bender, it might seem okay not to get the authorities involved.
It is a MISTAKE to fail to report a truck accident to the police. At The Cagle Law Firm, we want to go on record as saying that you should call the police for every kind of vehicular accident, no matter how minor!
Here are some things to keep in mind on that subject.
Why You Should Always Call the Police After a Truck Accident
In Some States, It’s Required by Law
The biggest reason to report a truck accident to the police, regardless of whether it’s a major or minor one, is because there’s a very good likelihood it’s against the law to fail to report it.
In St. Louis and other regions throughout Missouri, if a truck accident results in death, injury, or property damage (as all truck accidents must), motorists are legally required to report it within five days of the event. But do not wait five days. Report it immediately.
In Kentucky, the law is the same, except that motorists have ten days to report the accident. The deadline is also ten days in Illinois, but the $500 threshold is only for uninsured vehicles. Non-injurious accidents involving insured vehicles, meanwhile, require being reported if they incur damages exceeding $1,500. Again, do not wait. Report it immediately.
It Establishes a Record of the Incident
A truck accident can have unexpected long-term injury consequences, some of which you may not even realize until much later. That’s why it’s essential to have documented evidence of the incident for future reference.
If an insurance company is disputing your claim, for instance, a police report can be a good asset for proving the extent of the damages, the time and date of the incident, and the circumstances that led to the accident, such as unsafe road conditions or another driver’s negligence.
Similarly, if you’re pursuing legal compensation because you believe the other driver was at fault, it’s important for your personal injury lawyer to be able to cite the police report to back up your claims.
Not Doing So Could Cost You Money
As a direct continuation of the examples above, failure to report a truck accident to the police can wind up costing you no small amount of money. And that’s not just if you’re pursuing legal compensation, either. Your own insurance company may outright deny any vehicle damage claims if you haven’t reported the accident to the police.
What’s more, some insurance policies all but require that a covered motorist report any and all accidents to the police. In some policies, failure to report could result in you losing your insurance entirely or having your monthly fees raised.
Worst of all, not having a police report could leave you open to accusations of liability, meaning the other driver could sue you instead.
Minor Accidents Aren’t Always Minor
The truth is, there’s no such thing as a minor truck accident. Whether it’s a head-on collision at top speed or a rear-end scrape in a slow-moving parking lot, you may not realize the full extent of the damage in regard to property and injury.
The site of an unreported truck accident could be littered with glass, metal, oil, and other materials, potentially leading to further accidents. Similarly, if the accident was caused by a driver or vehicle failing to meet federal trucking regulations, these violations could continue, putting other drivers on the road at risk.
A well-trained police officer reporting to the site of a truck accident could also notice evidence of property damage or even injury that an inexperienced motorist wouldn’t, allowing them to request additional help from fire, medical, and other emergency services, and potentially saving you from an even bigger crisis later.
Call The Cagle Law Firm toll-free at (1-800) 685-3302 or locally at (314) 276-1681 to speak to a lawyer who will listen to your case and can help you receive compensation.