Not every car accident is an event. If you get into an accident in a parking lot, for example, both you and the other party may walk away without injury. Do you need to call the Phoenix police after these accidents, then?
You do, in fact, need to report even your minor accidents. Once you have a police report detailing your accident, you can more easily take legal action against an allegedly liable party. Failure to report these accidents within 24 hours of them occurring can see you charged with a hit-and-run, even if you aren’t the party responsible for the accident.
When Should I Report an Accident to the Police?
You need to report a car accident to local law enforcement as soon as you can after a collision. Police officers can help you save people who might be trapped in your car or otherwise record the events that led up to your accident. The faster these teams can get on the scene, the safer everyone involved in your accident is likely to be.
Should I Report a Minor Accident to the Police?
While a minor accident may not feel monumental, letting one slide can carry serious legal consequences. You should always inform local law enforcement about an accident after it occurs, regardless of its severity.
That said, police officers may not feel the need to come to the scene of a minor accident. If you get the go-ahead to exchange your insurance information without law enforcement present, you may do so. If you want a police report filed regarding your accident, though, you’ll need to go to your local precinct and make that request in person.
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What’s the Benefit of a Post-Accident Police Report?
Working with police officers in Phoenix after even a minor car accident can help you better understand the circumstances that led to your collision. Officers on the scene can help you collect evidence of liability. Similarly, should officers want to apply criminal charges to anyone on the scene, those charges can help you establish a simultaneous civil case.
Most of all, police officers who come to the scene of your accident are obligated to create an accident report detailing the events that occurred. Should you want to pursue a civil case later down the line, this police report can serve as one of your claim’s primary sources. You can later access your report through the Arizona Department of Public Safety website.
That said, it may not be in your best interest to try and assign fault at the scene of your accident. Nor should you give statements regarding your position on the accident without a Zanes Law Injury Lawyer present. Instead, request representation as soon as possible. Our team can help you address your losses without incriminating yourself.
Can You Face Charges for Failing to Report an Accident to the Police in Phoenix?
If you don’t report an accident to the local police department, the precinct’s response to your oversight can vary. Many Phoenix police officers are reluctant to take action against someone involved in a minor accident. That, however, doesn’t mean that they won’t. You may be ticketed or otherwise face criminal charges for your refusal to communicate.
There are other reasons to reach out to law enforcement representatives after an accident, too. If you can get a police report filed regarding your case, it becomes easier for you to request compensation from an insurance provider later down the road. You can reference the applicable police report to hurry along a damage report or contest a company’s refusal to meet your claim.
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What Are the Consequences For a Hit-and-Run in Arizona?
If you do not report a car accident, the criminal charges you can face can be based on your perceived role in the collision. These charges can subsequently include failure to stop and/or hit-and-run charges.
Hit-and-runs are considered wobbler cases in Arizona. Parties accused of hit-and-run accidents can face either misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the nature of the collision. This remains the case even if you face charges after failing to report a car accident within Arizona’s allotted 24 hours.
The penalties for a hit-and-run accident can include:
- Damage to a parked vehicle: 30 days in jail and up to one year of probation alongside a $750 fine
- Non-serious injuries: two and a half years in prison at a minimum along with the three-year loss of your driver’s license
- Serious injury or death: up to twelve and a half years in prison along with the ten-year loss of your driver’s license
Jail time and license revocations are a steep price to pay for failing to make a phone call. Fortunately, you don’t have to contend with these charges on your own. An attorney can address these circumstances with you and argue to either have your charges reduced or dropped.
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How Can an Attorney Help Me Recover From a Car Accident?
No two car accidents are the same. While one person’s car accident may require them to seek out intensive medical care, yours may see you back on your feet in a day or less. Either way, though, you have a legal obligation to inform Phoenix police of your accident.
If you want to take another driver to court after a car accident, police reports help you make a case for liability. The team with Zanes Law Injury Lawyers can also help you start to build a car accident claim. You can contact us to schedule a case consultation on the same day that your accident occurs. The sooner we act, the sooner you can fight for the funds you need to recover.
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