A fender bender can ruin your day and leave you with property damage and personal injuries. If you’ve been involved in a parking lot mishap, a low-speed accident, or a minor collision, you may wonder whether you need to report the accident to your car insurance company or the police. Although you might be tempted to just drive away, it’s still important to report these accidents to the authorities and your insurer.
Protect Yourself And Your Rights
There are many reasons why you should report even a minor accident. Failing to report a minor car accident can compromise your important legal rights and jeopardize your ability to recover compensation for injuries and property damage.
It’s The Law
In Arkansas, drivers involved in car accidents are required by law to report certain types of collisions to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services within 30 days of the accident. You must file a specific report, known as a Safety Responsibility SR-1 Accident Report, with Driver Services for any accident involving more than $1,000 of property damage or the death or bodily injury of a person. Because it’s difficult to determine how much damage a vehicle has sustained, you should always err on the side of reporting a collision. More importantly, certain types of injuries, such as neck and back injuries, can take time to develop symptoms.
You May Have Been Injured
Just because you can walk away from a car accident doesn’t mean you haven’t suffered any injuries. Many whiplash injuries, as well as other types of strains, sprains, and soft tissue injuries, don’t immediately show symptoms, with some symptoms developing days or even weeks after the crash. By reporting your accident to the police, you have an official record that the collision occurred. This prevents the other driver from avoiding liability for your injuries by simply claiming that the accident never happened.
Your Car Insurance Company Requires It
Drivers involved in seemingly minor accidents are sometimes reluctant to report the incident to their insurer out of fear that their insurance rates will spike. Every car insurance policy includes specific provisions regarding prompt notification of accident claims. If you fail to report an accident, and it turns out the other driver is uninsured or underinsured, your insurer may deny you coverage for neglecting to report your accident on time.