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Do You Have to Call the Police for a Car Accident in Arizona?

Posted on July 19, 2024 in

If you are involved in an accident in Arizona, one of the first questions you may ask yourself is whether Arizona law requires you to report the accident to the police. It might seem like the last of a long list of things to do, but the question remains – do you really have to call?

The truth is that drivers involved in accidents are legally required to stop, assist, and provide insurance information unless there are injuries or death.

Reporting can create a paper trail that could help with the legal or financial consequences of the event.

If you have been in a motor vehicle accident in Arizona and have suffered personal injury or property damage, you should seek legal representation from an experienced Arizona car accident lawyer. The Stone Rose Law firm represents Arizona drivers in their claims against other motorists, their insurance companies, and, where applicable, even local and Arizona state government agencies.

Call us at (480) 498-8998 to speak with one of our car accident specialists about evaluating your potential car accident claims.

When Should You Call the Police After an Arizona Car Accident?

In some situations, calling the police after an accident to make an official report is not only advisable but necessary under Arizona law.

Under Arizona Revised Statute 28-666, the driver involved in an accident resulting in an injury, or death must notify the authorities immediately.

But what if a minor accident results in no apparent serious injury and only minimal or no evident damage to the vehicles involved or surrounding property? Do you still have to call the police?

The answer is technically no, “You do not have to call the police.” However, it is almost always best to inform the police anyway.

Why Should I Call the Police For A Fender Bender?

Having the police come to the accident scene can help establish the at-fault driver in a crash. A police report can also help you with an insurance claim. 

If you suspect that another driver involved in the crash was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or engaged in other illegal activities, it’s important to involve the police. This is especially crucial if you believe the other driver violated traffic laws, like running a red light or driving under the influence of alcohol.

How Not Calling the Police After an Accident Can Hurt You

Consider a scenario: You are driving on an Arizona road and get in a “fender-bender” accident with another driver. After checking that the other person involved has no injuries, you check your car and find only a faint paint scratch. It’s so faint that you do not even make an insurance claim.

The other driver’s vehicle shows signs of considerable body damage from past accidents. You cannot tell how much of the damage might have come from the accident with you. You exchange insurance provider information with the other driver, who appears friendly, and you both agree there is not enough damage to bother calling the police.

You drive away from the crash scene, thinking the episode is behind you.

A month later, the other driver’s lawyer served you with a court summons in a civil lawsuit, alleging that your vehicle caused extensive damage to his client’s car. They are also suing for personal injury. The lawsuit seeks thousands of dollars in damages, mostly based on the personal injury claim.

You assess your situation: there is no police report to objectively account for what happened in the accident. You also did not file your accident report. This means that you must now decide to settle the other driver’s claims or fight them in court with no objective evidence in your favor. It’s your word against the other driver’s, and an uncertain outcome at best.

Sadly, this kind of scenario is not uncommon in Arizona. In a case like this, you may want to report the crash to the police precinct yourself before consulting with a car accident lawyer in Scottsdale.

An infographic describing the potential consequences of not call the police after an accident.

After I Call the Police, Then What?

After you call the police, it might take considerable time before the police arrive. During this time, take the opportunity to:

  • Help anyone who may be injured, including making a 911 call for medical assistance if necessary
  • Gather crucial evidence, including taking photographs of the vehicles involved in the crash
  • Get the names and contact information of any witnesses of the accident;

Once a police officer arrives, answer the officer’s questions but only discuss the specific facts of your accident. Do not offer to volunteer information beyond what the officer asks you about.

What if the Police Do Not Show Up?

Once you’ve made the call, how long do you wait for the police after the accident?

Generally, Arizona law enforcement will not come to the scene of a minor crash. In this case, it is up to you and the other driver to fulfill your respective legal responsibilities before leaving the scene. This includes exchanging contact and insurance information or locating the driver of an unattended vehicle.

An infographic listing out the steps to take if the police do not show up to the scene of your auto accident.

If the police do not respond to your minor car accident, you can still report the crash for documentation by going to your local police precinct. This report can help you prove the cause of your property damage to an insurance company.

For assistance with Arizona’s car accident claims process, contact an attorney for advice you can trust. A car accident lawyer will help you with an insurance claim with or without a police accident report.

If you are suspicious about the information you are getting, call the other driver’s insurance company from the scene of the accident to verify for yourself that the other driver has given you accurate information. But only verify coverage. Do not give accident details to the other driver’s insurance company yet. Only give information away after you’ve spoken to your attorney.

Call Stone Rose Law Today About Your Traffic Accident 

At Stone Rose Law, our auto accident attorneys serve car accident clients throughout Arizona. We do everything we can to ensure you obtain the compensation you deserve. Reach out to us online or call (480) 498-8998 to schedule your free consultation to discuss your car accident case with a qualified car accident attorney in Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, or throughout Arizona.

Do you prefer to communicate with us online? You can reach us here to schedule a free initial consultation or to ask a question to one of our dedicated Phoenix car accident lawyers.