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Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Arizona?

Posted on May 31, 2021 in

In Arizona, the legal consequences of an automobile accident can vary drastically from case to case. For example, the allegorical “fender-bender” may leave both parties with nothing more than a small paint scratch. In others, the effects of an incident could lead to much more life-altering costs. 

But at what point in this spectrum of severity do you need to report a motor vehicle accident? And if you have to report the incident, what do you include in the report? 

The attorneys of the Stone Rose Law firm have years of experience representing clients who are victims of car, motorcycle, truck, and other kinds of motor vehicle accidents. We know how evidence in all its forms, including written reports, can make a difference in the outcome of insurance company settlement negotiations and at trial.

If you have been in a car accident in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or anywhere else in Maricopa County or the state of Arizona, and you are unsure of what to do or have questions, call us right away at (480) 498-8998 to speak with one of our traffic accident law specialists and to set up an appointment with an experienced Arizona car accident lawyer.

Don’t wait to call! Legal deadlines can exist after a car accident. Do not risk your legal rights by letting them slip. Call us or contact us online now.

Is There a Legal Obligation to Report a Car Accident in Arizona?

There is no statutory duty under Arizona law for drivers to report car accidents they are involved in.

However, the police are required to report more serious accidents. Specifically, they must file a report when investigating an accident involving injury, death, or property damage of more than $2,000 or when a traffic citation is issued. 

Police are informed about incidents once those involved or a witness to an accident call 911. 

This often means that you will be present when the police officer begins the accident investigation and will be included in the report. This gives you the opportunity to provide your side of the story to be officially documented. 

What Should You Do After a Car Accident in Arizona?

An infographic listing out steps to take when you've been in a car accident in Arizona.

Arizona law requires specific actions during certain types of accidents. For example, you are required to stop at the scene of the accident and provide your name and insurance information if property damage occurs.

Once the accident has occurred, you must provide medical assistance to anyone who is injured or requests medical attention, including the other driver or parties involved in the accident. You are then legally required to exchange personal contact information with the other driver, including your name, address, driver’s license information, and the vehicle registration number.

Even though you are not responsible for completing an accident report, you can still contribute through your statements to the investigating police officer. Therefore, your safest action after any accident is to call the police and wait for an officer to arrive.

If you choose not to wait, always exchange insurance information with the other driver.

Do Not Leave the Scene and Commit a “Hit-and-Run” Offense

Leaving the scene of an accident without exchanging the information required by law is a misdemeanor criminal violation. Failure to render assistance in the event of an injury and is a Class 6 Felony offense in Arizona.

Why Is a Police Accident Report Important?

An infographic listing out the benefits of having a police report after a car accident in Arizona.

A police report serves several purposes. It identifies the drivers, passengers, and witnesses, making it easier to determine who was involved and, if necessary, how to contact them. It also identifies the other driver’s insurance company.

Arizona car accident reports help preserve the record of what happened, who was involved, who witnessed the accident, the officer’s conclusions about what caused the accident, and who the traffic violations may have occurred.

Reports are also useful for preventing future potential problems. For example, if the accident was considered a small “fender bender” during the event of an accident, the report established during that time can prevent the other party from changing their mind and suing for personal injury and property damage later on. 

What Goes into a Police Accident Report?

An Arizona accident report form is a three-page document.

A screenshot of the first page of an Arizona Traffic Accident report.
The first page of the Arizona Traffic Accident Report Form

Here are some of the details the officer must include in the first two pages of the report:

  • Identity of drivers
  • Insurance information
  • Witnesses
  • Car make/model/registration
  • Time and date of the accident
  • Road and weather conditions
  • The directions of travel of the vehicles and the locations of any pedestrians or cyclists who were involved
  • The sequence of events that led to the accident
  • Property damage and any injuries
  • Citations were issued at the scene
A screenshot of the third page of an Arizona Traffic accident report.
Third page of the Arizona Traffic Accident Report Form

The last page of the accident report has a narrative section. This is where you might indirectly have some input into the report based on what you tell the police officer during the investigation.

When Must the Accident Report be Completed?

The officer can complete the accident report at the scene or later. Under Arizona law, the officer has up to 24 hours to complete the report after the accident investigation.

How Do You Obtain a Copy of a Police Report?

If you have an attorney, like one of our traffic accident lawyers at Stone Rose Law, your lawyer can obtain a copy of the traffic accident report.

You can also obtain the report yourself through the following methods:

  • You can make an online request through the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) or to the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction over the accident.
  • You can request a copy by mail from the ADOT or from the police department that has the report.
  • You can request a copy by going in person to the police department that has the report.

Call Stone Rose Law Today About Your Traffic Accident Report

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 lawyer in Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, or throughout Maricopa County, AZ.

  • If you have suffered personal injury or property damage in a vehicle collision, and you want to be sure you receive the best possible legal representation from an experienced Arizona personal injury law firm, call us.
  • If your insurance company has denied your insurance claim after you are in a car accident, call us.
  • Or even if you are unsure of what to do after getting into a car accident and have a question about your legal rights in a personal injury case, call us.

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. Remember, the Arizona statute of limitations for personal injury car accidents is only two years, and your insurance company might give you even less time to make a policy claim. Let us help you to protect car accident claims—call us today.