What happens if you don’t report a car wreck is that you could face penalties under your state’s laws. In addition, you will likely be unable to file your insurance claim or pursue a case against the at-fault driver without a police report. This means you may be unable to recover the compensation you are entitled to pursue that will help pay for your medical care, lost wages, vehicle repairs, and other accident losses.
Some states require you to call the local police or law enforcement agency to respond to any injury accident or accident with significant property damage while others allow you to file an accident report on your own afterward. In addition, states require you to report accidents to the police while the department of motor vehicles or another agency handles these reports in other states.
Law and Penalties Vary from State to State
What happens if you don’t report a car wreck depends on the state where your accident happened. Each state has its own laws for time limits and penalties. You may only have a few hours to submit your report, you may need to contact police immediately, or you may have a month or more to complete a form and file it with the proper agency.
Even across our service area, states vary widely in their rules and penalties, which includes:
Under Alabama Code §32-10-5, Alabama law requires you to report any injury car accident to local police as soon as possible. Failure to do so could leave you facing Class A misdemeanor charges if not, per Alabama Code §32-10-6.
Arkansas Code Annotated (ACA) §27-53-202 requires drivers who are in an injury accident or one with significant property damage to call police immediately. If this does not happen for some reason, or an officer does not respond, the individuals have 30 days to prepare and file a written report using an official accident report form, known as an SR-1. This report is submitted to the Arkansas Office of Driver Services. Under ACA §27-53-201, failure to do so could result in a fine of between $100 to $1,000 and revocation of your license.
Mississippi requires that drivers file a written report if there is an injury or property damage exceeding $250. You have ten days to file this report with the local police. According to the Mississippi Bar Association (MS Bar), failure to file a police report about your accident is a misdemeanor and could cause you to lose your driver’s license.
Louisiana Revised Statutes (RS) §32:398 requires you to file a report if there were injuries or property damage of more than $500. You will need to file this report with a local police officer. While the police officer will most likely handle this process for you, any accident with injuries or more than $100 in damage must also have a copy of the report on file with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC). Failure to file a report with DPSC within 24 hours could result in a fine of as much as $100 and other penalties.
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Failure to Report a Car Accident Quickly Could Cast Doubt on Your Case
Not reporting a car accident immediately or in the hours following the accident could have a dramatic effect on your car accident case. The insurance company, or judge and jury, if the case goes to court, will likely not believe that you suffered significant injuries or damages if you did not call first responders from the scene or file a report with the police right away.
However, if you chose not to do so and later realized you have injuries or property damage, file your report as soon as possible. It is easier to defend against a report that occurs a few hours or days following an accident than it is to explain why you were hurt in an auto accident but did not notify the proper authorities.
Speak to a Member of the Team from Morris Bart, LLC About Your Accident Case
At the Morris Bart law firm, we help accident victims from across the Gulf South pursue compensation after they suffer injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. We will review your case at no cost to you. We can explain how your accident report, if you filed one, can affect your case. Contact us today to discuss your options after an accident in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, or Mississippi.
Call (504) 613-4771 now for your complimentary case consultation with a member of our team in an office near you.
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