There are several reasons that you’ll want to contact the authorities after a car wreck. The laws that require the reporting of accidents are complex, so you’ll want to be sure you’re in compliance with them. The best way to do this is to call the appropriate number—non-emergency if there are no injuries or traffic obstructions, 911 if there are—and talk to the operator. They’ll let you know if you have to wait for an officer or not. There are some situations, however, where you need an officer’s assistance.
Drunk driving is a criminal offense. If someone hits you while they’re drunk and behind the wheel, they’re already guilty driving while intoxicated. These drivers, obviously, may want you to hold off calling the police. Don’t do it. You may feel bad for calling them in but, remember, if you don’t you’re just putting them back out on the road to hit someone else, possibly with more tragic results. You have to call these in.
Some drivers get very hot under the collar when they’re in wrecks. They may threaten you, even to the point of trying to intimidate you physically. Call these in immediately. Just knowing you’re on the phone with the police will oftentimes diffuse the situation. Don’t try to settle these people down yourself; you never know how far they’re going to take a minor fender bender.
Hit and Run Drivers
Again, this is also a crime, and you need to report it. This is why you need to take down the license plate of the other driver before even talking to them. They may well try to take off when the opportunity presents itself. If they do try to flee, however, don’t try to stop them. Take down their license plate number and call it in; only police have the authority to detain someone.
Your next legal recourse is a motor vehicle accident lawyer. They deal in the law that applies to negligence and can help you sue drivers that have caused you harm. Call the car accident lawyer right after the wreck. The incident will be fresh in your mind, and the lawyer will be able to help you better if you can give them detailed information. Remember that there are sometimes time limitations, which is another reason to call as soon as possible.