Drivers should call the police when involved in a car crash. The officer responding to the scene will create a police report which will serve as an official record of the crash. A police report also becomes a vital piece of information should you or the other driver file a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Is There a Tennessee Law That Requires Me to Call the Police After an Accident?
Yes, Tennessee Code §55-10-106 requires drivers and vehicle owners to report accidents to local police that result in injury, death, and $50 or more in property damage. This applies to accidents occurring on highways, shopping center parking lots, apartment complexes, trailer parks, and other places frequented by the public.
Tennessee Code §55-12-104 requires vehicle owners or drivers to file a report within 20 days with Tennessee’s Department of Safety for accidents involving death,
injury, and $400 or more in property damage. Failure to file a report within the 20-day time period may result in a suspension of your driver’s license and registration.
What Should I Do If the Other Driver Gets Angry Because I Called the Police?
Stay as calm as possible until police arrive. You do not want to make an already tense situation worse. Police officers know how to control an accident scene and calm down angry drivers.
If possible, try to exchange contact information with the other driver or take photographs of the accident scene while you wait for the officer to arrive. If you feel threatened, dial 911 again and report the other driver’s actions.
What If a Police Officer Does Not Respond to the Accident Scene?
The police may not respond to an accident that does not involve injuries or substantial property damage. For example, the police may not show up to a grocery store parking lot where two insured drivers got into a fender bender and neither suffered injuries.
However, you can still file a police report for auto insurance purposes. If the other driver is willing, you may go to the nearest police department to file a report. In this way, you will have a police report to give your auto insurer if you plan to file an insurance claim.
Should I Accept Cash from the At-Fault Driver in Exchange for Not Calling the Police?
We do not recommend taking cash from an at-fault driver who does not want you to call police or report the accident to your auto insurance company. Drivers who do not want police involvement in an accident may not have a valid driver’s license or have expired car insurance. Accepting cash helps the other driver cover up whatever they want to hide.
You also lose your opportunity to file an insurance claim because you will not have an official record of the crash to give to your auto insurer. Your car may have more damage than you realize or you may have suffered an injury even if you do not feel injured.
How Will Having a Police Report Help Me Recover Compensation?
If you were injured in a car wreck caused by another driver, you can use the police report to support your claim that the property damage and injuries you suffered were because of the other driver’s negligence.
You can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation for the damages you suffered. Auto insurers, however, do not like to pay out claims. So, having an experienced car accident lawyer to help you with this process may prevent you from getting your claim rejected.
Why Would an Auto Insurer Reject My Claim?
Generally, auto insurers use a police report to help determine fault for an accident. But, the company also talks to its policyholder about the accident. If the driver does not admit fault or contends the police report has inaccurate information, the insurance company may delay or deny a claim. This is when having a car accident lawyer working on your behalf will benefit you.
The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC, for instance, build solid claims for injured clients by investigating their car accidents. We collect evidence that shows how another driver’s negligence caused an accident and our clients suffered injuries as a result. We also file claims and negotiate settlements with insurance companies.
Were You Injured in a Car Accident? Let Us Help You File a Claim
After you call the police when you are involved in a car crash, consider hiring an attorney. The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril PLLC helps car accident injury victims pursue compensation for the financial losses they suffered because of someone else’s negligence.
To schedule a free legal consultation with one of our car accident lawyers, call us today at 1-865-546-1111.