When you’re in an accident, there are several things you have to do right after the accident, which can be stressful. If it’s your first accident, you may not know what to do. You should always pull your car to the side of the road, so you are out of traffic, then check if you and the other driver are injured.
If there are injuries, call the police to get medical assistance. Even if there are no injuries, police can help you decide what to do next. If you’ve been in an accident, a Tucson car accident lawyer can help you build a case and gather evidence.
Police Officers’ Role in Car Accidents
In Arizona, the police are responsible for filing a police report, not the driver. Since the police are filing the report, you should call the police after an accident. According to A.R.S. § 28-667, police should file an accident report when there’s bodily injury, death, or $2,000 or more worth of damages.
If it’s a minor car accident, like a fender bender, police are usually not required to file an accident report. However, having a police officer on the scene may be helpful. An officer can assess the damage, facilitate the exchange of information, and determine if an accident report is necessary.
It’s important to know that failing to exchange information is a misdemeanor according to A.R.S. § 28-663 and can result in a class 3 misdemeanor. Penalties for a class 3 misdemeanor include:
- Up to 30 days in jail
- $500 fine
- Up to a year of probation
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The Benefits of Calling the Police After an Accident
In addition to medical assistance, contacting the police after an accident has other benefits. For example, when a police officer files a car accident report, the report documents any damages and injuries you sustained. Your lawyer can use this information to strengthen your case and increase the amount of compensation you may obtain if you win your case.
After an accident, your thinking may be frazzled or foggy. Police can help you remember the accident accurately by asking you questions. They can also manage conflict if the other driver involved in the accident is upset and tries to resort to violence.
Police can also ensure the safety of other drivers by setting up roadblocks or caution tape to isolate the scene of the accident. These safety measures can help decrease traffic congestion that often accumulates after an accident.
Arizona’s Statute of Limitations
Since a police officer is responsible for reporting an accident, the officer should complete it at the scene of the accident, or within 24 hours of completing their investigation, according to A.R.S. § 28-667. Reporting a collision immediately will ensure that it’s the most accurate.
For filing a car accident lawsuit, A.R.S. § 12-542 states that you have 2 years to do so. We recommend that you file an accident claim as soon as you can. This may help increase your compensation amount if you win your case. Waiting to file a claim when you could have done so earlier can be used against you.
After the accident is in the police’s system, you should report the accident to your insurance agency. The amount of time you have to report the crash to your insurance may be more lenient or require you to report it as soon as possible. You can find the deadline to report an accident in your insurance policy.
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What Information Is On an Arizona Accident Report?
The amount of information on an accident report can be overwhelming, especially after an accident. However, information on the report could serve as evidence for your case.
Some information on the report that may help solidify your case is:
- Other driver’s contact information: This can help you get any additional information you may need after the crash.
- Overview of the accident: A summary can help determine who was at fault.
- Details about injuries: Injury details can estimate the amount of damages you may receive.
- Details about the accident location: Location information can help your lawyer identify external factors that could have caused the accident, which may relieve fault.
- Weather and conditions: Weather conditions can contribute to an accident and help your lawyer better understand the accident.
- Statements of witnesses and other drivers: Statements can be used as evidence to strengthen your case, even if they are from the defendant.
- Police officers’ findings: A police officer can act as a neutral party and provide information you may have overlooked.
All of this information can be useful in developing your case. You want to have as much evidence and documentation as possible from the accident, so you and your lawyer can work together building your case.
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Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer in Tucson
If you have been in an accident in Tucson and want to fight for compensation, our lawyers at Zanes Law are ready to review your case for free. Our team of lawyers has over 80 years of combined experience, including car accident cases, and we’re proud of our results.
We may be able to prove the other driver was at fault and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us today to discuss your case with us, and we’ll help you decide what your next step should be.