Being involved in a car accident can be scary and confusing. However, knowing what steps to take to protect yourself and your rights to compensation is essential.
In this situation, you may wonder, “Do I have to call the police after a Corpus Christi car accident?” Knowing the law in Texas is essential to navigating this situation. You can also call the car accident attorneys at the Burkett Law Firm to learn more about your rights and responsibilities.
The Legal Requirements in Texas
The law explicitly states when motorists must report a car accident in Texas. According to the Texas Transportation Code, Section 550.026, any driver involved in a car accident that results in injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000 must immediately report the incident.
If the accident occurs within Corpus Christi city limits, the Corpus Christi Police Department should be informed. This legal mandate ensures that the proper authorities can take necessary actions and create an official accident record.
When in Doubt
If you are ever uncertain about the extent of damages or injuries, it’s always prudent to err on the side of caution and report the accident. A Corpus Christi car accident attorney can provide detailed guidance for any complexities or further understanding of this law and how it applies to your situation.
Why It’s Advised to Call the Police
After an accident, you may think that there is no reason to call the police. However, other benefits exist even if the legal requirements to call are not there. These include:
Even when not strictly required by Texas law, involving the police is a strategic move. The officers will objectively document the accident scene, ensuring that critical evidence is preserved. This documentation often becomes a cornerstone of any subsequent auto accident claim.
An Unbiased Record
A police report offers an impartial account of the events. In the whirlwind of emotions and stress that often follows a collision, having a neutral third-party recount can be invaluable, especially if there are discrepancies between the involved parties’ versions of the event.
Beyond the legal and insurance implications, the police are trained to handle post-accident scenarios. They can manage traffic, administer first aid if needed, and ensure the overall safety of all involved parties, thereby reducing the risk of secondary accidents.
Strengthening Your Claim
From an insurance perspective, having a police report can bolster your auto accident claim. Insurance companies view these reports as trustworthy, which can expedite the claim process and potentially increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
Peace of Mind
Lastly, knowing you’ve taken all the recommended steps provides peace of mind. Having a Corpus Christi car accident attorney review the situation can also be reassuring, ensuring all legal aspects are addressed.
Consequences of Not Reporting
Failing to report an accident can have consequences. Knowing these will help you see why doing this is so important.
Not adhering to the Texas Transportation Code, specifically Section 550.026, can lead to legal penalties. Those who fail to report an accident that involves injury, death, or significant property damage can face fines and other legal consequences.
Challenges with Insurance
Without an official police report, you may encounter skepticism from insurance companies. This could delay or complicate your auto accident claim, potentially leading to reduced compensation or outright denial.
Disputes and Credibility
Not having a police record can give the other party involved an undue advantage. Without an official account, disputes might arise, with each side presenting conflicting narratives. This can create challenges in establishing credibility and determining liability.
Not reporting risks being seen as the responsible party, especially if the other party files a report first. Prompt reporting ensures your story is on record, safeguarding against unfounded accusations.
Exceptions and Special Circumstances
There are exceptions. For minor accidents on private property, police might not intervene. These include:
Minor Incidents & Private Property
Texas law recognizes that not all accidents require police intervention. Minor fender benders, especially those on private property like parking lots, might not necessitate a police report. However, it’s always wise to document the incident for personal records.
Delayed Police Response
In situations with heavy traffic or limited police availability, law enforcement’s arrival might be delayed. If this happens, drivers should prioritize personal safety and take the initiative in documenting evidence, such as photographs and witness accounts.
If the police can’t attend or if you’re unsure about the necessity of a report, Texas allows for self-reporting accidents. These can be submitted at a later date.
If there’s ever ambiguity about reporting or navigating special circumstances, a Corpus Christi car accident attorney can provide insights, helping to ensure you take the right steps post-accident.
Understanding Your Responsibilities After a Corpus Christi Car Accident
Understanding when and why to involve the police after a Corpus Christi car accident is vital. Not only does it keep you compliant with Texas law, but it also strengthens your position should you need to file an auto accident claim. Always consider contacting a knowledgeable Corpus Christi car accident attorney for tailored advice and guidance.
At the Burkett Law Firm, we can help you with your car accident claim and help you recover the compensation you are entitled to. The first step is to contact our office to schedule a free consultation.