Each year, there are countless traffic accidents across the country. Sometimes they are minor, just “fender benders” and people are able to handle them civilly with the other driver. In the city of Las Vegas, police may not even be dispatched for minor accidents. However, sometimes, the authorities do need to get involved with the case. Most people realize that calling the police after an accident involving bodily injury and/or a large amount of property damage is necessary. However, many people do not realize what they should and should not say once the officer arrives on the scene or how could it affect you later.
Should the Police Be There?
In a relatively small or minor accident with no grievous injuries, you may not feel that the police need to be involved at all. However, they may still show up. They could be driving past and see the accident, or someone may have called them. They may show up even for the fender benders, and it might actually be a good idea to have them there. If they are at the scene of the accident, they will be able to file a police report, which can be extremely important when it comes to determining who is at fault for the accident and who will be paying the damages. The investigation will help to determine who caused the accident, so the officer can issue a ticket.
Part of the investigation will be interviewing those who were involved – drivers, passengers, and witnesses. When the officer interviews you, it is possible not to say anything until you talk with your attorney if you choose. In most locations, the only thing you need to do is provide your name, license, proof of insurance, and vehicle registration. If you don’t talk, the officer could give you a ticket, but it is possible to go to court to fight the ticket if needed.
However, most drivers will talk with the officers, which is fine. You do need to be careful about what you say, or else the report could cast you in the role of being the negligent driver. Be factual, don’t admit fault, and choose the words you use very carefully.
Of course, the police will certainly arrive in any accident that causes injury or a large amount of property damage. Tempers may flare at these scenes, as well as the minor accidents, so it is important for you to remain as calm as possible. Even if the other driver is threatening or berating, keep as calm as you can. If you do anything to aggravate the situation, you can be sure it will show up in the police report and that could actually cause you more trouble down the line, including with the insurance company.
What Should You Ask from the Police?
When the officers are taking your information, you should ask for their names and badge numbers so you can follow up on the report and get a copy. This police report could prove to be very important when it comes to proving your case and getting the other party’s insurance to pay. Chances are you will not have to follow up and get the police report on your own – your attorney can do that for you. However, you do want to have the names and badge numbers of the officers to provide to your lawyer. It can make getting the report faster and easier.
How Will You Respond?
It is difficult to know exactly how you will respond to the police if you’ve been in an accident. Most of the time, it will depend on the circumstances since all accidents are different. It might be very clear what happened and that the other driver was at fault. If you believe that the accident could have been your fault, the smart move is not to say anything at all. It may result in closer scrutiny by the police, as well as a citation, but it might be in your best interest to say nothing until you have the time to speak with an attorney.
In the event of a relatively simple accident, it’s usually okay to explain what happened in your opinion. Just remember that you never want to implicate yourself. Never apologize. You should be calm and polite, but you should never make it seem as though it was your fault.
Keep in mind that the other driver is likely going through a similar thought process to your own. They may not feel they were at fault, or they don’t want the police to realize they were at fault. This means that their story could conflict with yours. It’s the job of the police to get to the bottom of things. They need the facts to do this properly, so lying to the police is a bad idea. It will show up on the report, and it will not be a point in your favor when you are trying to bring suit against the other driver’s insurance company.
Talk With an Attorney
As soon as you possibly can after the accident, you need to get in touch with an attorney. Let the attorney know about the details of the accident and what you said to the police. In addition, you should take the time to visit a doctor for a medical examination, even if you don’t feel as though the accident caused any injuries. You want to be certain that there aren’t any problems that could require treatment or therapy down the line. This also gives your attorney a better idea of what they should ask for when it comes to damages. Your attorney has your best interests at heart and wants to make sure that negligent drivers are held accountable for their actions.
When you are choosing an attorney, make sure you find someone who has plenty of experience in the field of personal injuries and auto accidents. Find an attorney with a good reputation in the area as well.