The chances of you being in at least one car accident in your lifetime are very high. Many of us have been in multiple car accidents by the time we reach the age of 40, even if they were minor fender benders. Because car accidents are so common, just about everybody will ask this question at some point in their life, “Am I legally required to report a car accident?”
Each state has its own laws about reporting car accidents. Some states require drivers to report accidents whenever the vehicle damage appears to meet or exceed $500 or $1,000, while others say drivers have to report accidents whenever someone is injured. Here in Texas, the law regarding reporting car accidents can be found under Section 550.026 of the Texas Transportation Code.
Texas Law on Reporting a Car Accident
Under Sec. 550.026(a) it reads, “The operator of a vehicle involved in an accident resulting in injury to or death of a person or damage to a vehicle to the extent that it cannot be normally and safely driven shall immediately by the quickest means of communication give notice of the accident” to the local police department if the accident occurred in a municipality or to the local police or sheriff’s department if the accident occurred within 100 feet of municipality, or to the sheriff’s department if the accident occurred more than 100 feet of a municipality.
What about your auto insurance company? Should you report an accident to them? As a general rule, policyholders are required to report accidents to their insurance companies, however, each auto insurance company has a different time requirement for reporting an accident. It’s safe to say that auto insurance companies expect their policyholders to report accidents very soon after they occur.
If you’re in an accident and you delay reporting the crash, your insurer could deny the claim and you could be on the hook for any losses or damages. Most insurance companies consider a “reasonable amount of time” to be within a day or two of the crash, so the sooner you report, the better. You can also check your policy to know what’s expected of you as far as reporting.
To file a claim for compensation after a crash, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC.