Have you been in a car crash in Phoenix, AZ? You may need to file an accident or police report. However, before you contact your insurer, it’s crucial you know what not to say. Otherwise, you risk harming your claim!
So, below, we’re explaining what you shouldn’t say as part of a Phoenix accident report.
What Is an Accident Report in Phoenix?
An accident report explains what happened at a crash scene. In other words, it tells us what happened. Police officers complete accident reports when they attend the scene and talk to the driver(s) involved.
Accident reports contain crucial details, such as any citations issued at the scene, and any personal injuries. They are, therefore, useful evidence in both insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits.
Types of Phoenix Car Accident Reports
There are various types of accident reports. The report you will have depends on which officers attend the scene. For example, local police officers may respond, or it may be a matter for the Highway Patrol.
You will also make an accident report when you contact your insurance company. However, this is not the same as a police or Highway Patrol accident report in Arizona.
Phoenix Car Accident Reporting Requirements
You don’t always need to report a car crash in Phoenix. Here’s a summary of your reporting requirements.
- When to call the police: If there’s any bodily injury, a fatality, or property damage over $2,000. A report will also be generated for sending to the DMV.
- When to report to your insurance company: Ideally, make your report within 24 hours. Even if you don’t have your crash report yet, you should still notify your insurer of the incident.
Failing to report a crash means you fled the scene of an accident. Technically, this can be considered a “hit and run”. Penalties can be severe, such as fines, license suspension, and jail time.
What about very minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises? These are still injuries! The severity is irrelevant. If in doubt, call the authorities.
What You Shouldn’t Say After a Car Crash
After a crash, you’re probably not thinking clearly. That’s why it’s crucial to know how to react so you can protect your legal rights. Below are five things to avoid saying, either in your Phoenix accident report or to your insurer.
1. Don’t Apologize
Apologizing implies fault. In other words, you’re saying that you’re at least partly responsible for the crash. This could be used against you in settlement negotiations later.
Don’t apologize at the scene or when you make your accident report in Phoenix. Stick to the facts only.
2. Don’t Discuss Liability
Similarly, don’t blame the other driver. The Phoenix car accident report may indicate who the police believe caused the crash. However, this should not be discussed with anyone other than a lawyer or your insurer.
And crucially, don’t agree to settle matters informally! Once you have your accident report in Phoenix, a lawyer can explain your legal rights and how to proceed.
3. Don’t Say You’re Not Injured
You might feel okay at the scene. However, until you’re evaluated by a doctor, you can’t say for sure whether you’re injured or not. Why is this an issue? Insurance claims – and personal injury lawsuits – are largely based on:
- Your financial and tangible losses; and
- Your injuries.
Saying you’re unharmed could mean you don’t get a fair settlement offer down the line.
Do not tell the police you are unharmed. And do not tell your insurance company there are no injuries. Instead, get medical attention first. Only once you have been examined can you determine whether you’re hurt or not.
4. Don’t Claim This Is Your Official Statement
You make at least two statements as part of any accident claim:
- Your comments at the scene; and
- Your official statement to your insurance company.
Official statements become legally binding. However, they’re used in the claims process and are very difficult to retract.
Until you seek legal advice, do not claim that any statement is your “official” statement. Otherwise, your Phoenix accident report may be inaccurate or detrimental to your case.
H3: 5. Don’t Forego Legal Advice
You have the right to discuss your accident with an attorney before accepting a settlement offer. This helps to ensure you get a fair amount of damages for your injuries and losses.
Even if you don’t have a lawyer yet, don’t tell your insurer this when you make a report. Otherwise, they may try to take advantage of the situation. They could make you an offer which is lower than you deserve.
What to Do After a Crash in Phoenix
We’ve covered what to avoid after a car crash. What should you do, though? Here’s how to proceed after any auto accident in Phoenix, AZ.
- Calmly move away from the scene and call the authorities to report the crash.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) involved. You are legally obliged to exchange basic details after a crash causing injury or property damage.
- Get medical attention urgently, if required.
- Take pictures of any damage and injuries.
- Avoid admitting fault or discussing liability.
- File a crash report and obtain a copy for your insurance company.
- Report the crash to your auto insurance carrier.
- Contact a lawyer to discuss a possible civil claim.
As you can see, there are a few steps involved in making a car accident claim. Reduce the burden by using our accident report lookup services!
Obtain a Copy of Your Phoenix AZ Car Accident Report
If you’re involved in a car accident, you probably need a crash report. You can obtain a copy of this report – once you know where to find it.
There’s no obligation, either. You do not need to use our personal injury attorneys or medical experts if you don’t want to!
Obtain your Phoenix police car accident report as soon as possible. Contact us now. Get your accident report in Phoenix here!