Do You Need to Call the Police for a Fender Bender in Massachusetts

Everyone who drives a car is bound to get in a minor accident sooner or later. While serious car crashes that send people to the hospital are rare, “minor” car accidents where vehicles bump into each other, graze each other, or otherwise get in less serious accidents happen every day – and people still often get injured in these accidents. While it is obvious that you should report serious accidents to the police and other relevant authorities, it may not be as clear whether you need to let people know about less serious accidents.

In Massachusetts, you are required by law to report any motor vehicle accident that causes damage valued over $1,000 or injures or kills someone. These reports have to be submitted within five days, and you may have to provide supplementary material depending on the circumstances. If you are hurt to the point that you are incapacitated, you can focus on recovering instead of getting that report in, but you still need to file a report of the accident as soon as you are capable of doing so.

Call our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers from the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 and get a free case review.

When Do You Need to Call the Police After a Fender Bender in Massachusetts?

Under Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 90 § 26, you have to report any car crash where someone is injured or killed, and you also have to report accidents where the damage done is over $1,000. You make that report using a form provided by the state, and you must make that report within five days of the incident. However, the law is silent as to whether you need to call the police after a car crash. This means that – at least technically – you do not need to call the police after a car crash, provided the other thresholds are not met. That being said, our Boston car accident lawyers still recommend calling the police after an accident because it can be beneficial to any legal claim you may bring in the future.

However, you also have to report accidents where property damage is caused, even if nobody is actually hurt. This is necessary and important for a couple of reasons. First, the state needs to know when car accidents happen so that they have data to publish statistics about various things related to car accidents in their jurisdiction. Second, reporting accidents helps bolster any personal injury claims you may want to file with the help of our Arlington, MA car accident lawyers at some point down the line.

One important thing to remember is that the threshold of more than $1,000 in damage is easy to meet. Car repairs, even minor ones, can easily exceed this amount, especially if the repair shop finds further issues beyond what is expected after the car is taken in to be fixed. Therefore, you should expect to report most car accidents that take place in Massachusetts.

Reporting Extensions in Massachusetts Fender Benders

Even if you call the police right after an accident happens, you still have to file a report within five days. However, some circumstances can extend the time that you have to report the incident. The most common reason for this is because the victim is incapacitated and unable to do so – usually because they are recovering in a hospital. Generally, though, vehicle owners and operators are required to report a crash within five days of it taking place. Failure to do so may have legal repercussions, and it certainly will impede any later efforts to get damages in court. Therefore, you should try and report an accident as soon as you can.

What Should You Do if Other Drivers Do Not Want to Report a Fender Bender in Massachusetts?

If the other driver does not want to report the crash, you should still make an effort to call the police and report the accident to the relevant authorities. There are a couple of reasons why other drivers may not want to report a crash. They may suspect that they are responsible for the accident, and they want to avoid liability. Alternatively, they may want to avoid a bureaucratic hassle with insurance or other entities and simply “eat” the expense of having their car fixed. Our lawyers do not recommend taking this approach. Not only would doing so be going against Massachusetts law, but it also seriously hurts any future claims you may want to bring.

If a driver involved in your crash insists on trying to sweep things under the rug – or even goes as far as to deny providing you with relevant information – you should get as much information as you can about the accident through photos, video, and other things, and then immediately get in touch with our lawyers and law enforcement. That way, you can get a hold of the person who caused your crash and ensure that you file your car accident lawsuit against the right person.

What if the Other Driver Leaves After a Crash in Massachusetts?

Sometimes, the other driver will speed away after an accident. The idea behind “hit and runs” is to get away so that the victim cannot effectively report the accident and, perhaps, the culprit can avoid both civil and criminal liability. Hit and runs, of course, are illegal. So, the best course of action if someone hits your vehicle and then speeds away is to get in contact with the police and give them as much information as you can. They can track down the person who struck you, and they will likely be charged with a crime in addition to being open to civil liability from you.

Our Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers Can Help You

To get a free review of your case, call (617) 925-6407 and speak to a Billerica, MA car accident lawyer from the Law Office of John J. Sheehan.