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Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Arizona?

Posted on May 31, 2021 in

If you get into a car accident in Arizona, there are certain steps you must take to fulfill your legal responsibilities as a driver. One of these steps is to report the car accident, in most cases. If you are legally required to report a car accident and fail to do so, you could face repercussions such as a hit-and-run charge. Reporting your car accident is also important for insurance purposes.

What Does the Law Say in Arizona?

Arizona law requires drivers to report all car accidents, regardless of severity, if they cause any injuries or damage. You should report a crash to the police in Arizona if it is minor, major or if it involves a parked unattended vehicle. Reporting your crash means calling 911 immediately – ideally, while still at the scene of the accident. Calling 911 will put you in touch with local law enforcement in the county where your car accident took place.

Police officers are required to report car accidents in Arizona if they are serious. Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-667 states that a law enforcement officer who investigates a car crash that results in the following damages must submit a written report within 24 hours of completing the investigation:

  • Personal injuries
  • Deaths
  • Property damage over $2,000
  • In the issuance of a citation

In these cases, the police report must include basic information about the car accident, such as the time, date and location. It will also include identifying information for all of the parties and witnesses involved, including proof of insurance. Finally, it will have a narrative description of the facts of the car accident, along with a diagram of the scene of the crash.

Why You Should Report a Car Accident

Reporting a car accident in Arizona can benefit you in many ways. Although you may be afraid of receiving a citation related to the crash, it is critical to notify law enforcement about the collision. This is one of your legal responsibilities as a driver in Arizona. It can also have additional advantages for you as an injured victim who plans to file an insurance claim against the at-fault driver.

Having a car accident report drawn up by law enforcement gives you a strong piece of evidence during an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. The report will have key information about the crash and the other driver that could provide proof of that driver’s fault. It could also contain the police officer’s opinion about who or what caused the crash, such as the other driver violating a traffic law.

What Else Should You Do After a Car Accident in Arizona?

In addition to reporting your car accident, you should take other steps to protect your rights. Arizona Revised Statutes Section 28-663 states that drivers have a duty to give information and assistance after being involved in an accident that results in injury, death or vehicle damage. These duties include:

  1. Exchange names, addresses and vehicle registration numbers with the other driver.
  2. Upon request, show the other driver your driver’s license.
  3. Render reasonable assistance to anyone injured in the car accident.

Failing to fulfill the first two duties is a class 3 misdemeanor. Failing to fulfill the third duty is a class 6 felony. For your own records, you should also take pictures and videos while at the scene of your car accident and talk to eyewitnesses, if possible. Then, you should go to a hospital immediately for professional medical care.

When To Contact an Attorney

The next step is to contact your car insurance company to report the crash. Before you accept an insurance settlement for your medical bills and other losses, however, consult with a Scottsdale car accident lawyer for advice. An attorney can help you negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster for the best possible financial outcome.