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If you’ve recently been involved in a car crash, you may be wondering whether you’re required to report your accident to the police and your insurance company. If so, how long do you have to report an accident?

Depending on the value of property damage and whether there were any injuries, you may be required by your state’s laws to report your accident. But whether obligated or not, reporting your accident to both the police and insurance companies could be to your benefit if you think you’re owed compensation for your losses. You’ll want to act quickly, as most states require certain kinds of accidents to be formally reported within just a few days.

Here’s a look at the timeframes you might face if you’re required to file a police report, an insurance claim, or both.

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How Long Do You Have To Report An Accident To Police: State Deadlines

In most states you’re required to report accidents to police if they result in significant injury or a certain amount of property damage. Each state’s requirements are different, so it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the laws that apply in the state where you crashed. But do so quickly, as some states require “immediate” reporting after an accident.

Here are some examples of state requirements for reporting accidents to law enforcement:

Alaska: If an accident results in bodily injury, death, or estimated property damage of at least $2,000, drivers of vehicles involved in the accident must forward a crash report to the state’s Department of Administration within 10 days. A crash report must also be forwarded to local police if the wreck occurred within a municipality. If the accident was investigated promptly by a peace officer, motorists are exempt from this reporting requirement.

California: If an accident results in bodily injury, death, or property damage in excess of $1,000, an insurance agent, lawyer, or motorist involved in the crash must report it to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days.

Florida: If law enforcement doesn’t complete and submit a long form accident report pertaining to a crash, victims of a wreck have 10 days to report their crash to law enforcement.

Louisiana: If an accident results in bodily injury, death, or estimated property damage in excess of $500, drivers of vehicles involved in the accident must give immediate notice to local police or the nearest sheriff’s office or state police station.

New York: If an accident results in bodily injury or death, motorists involved must report the accident to police immediately. If property damage occurs in excess of $1,000, a report must be submitted to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days. Additionally, motorists must either notify law enforcement or contact the owner if a parked car or other property is damaged or a domestic animal is injured as a result of the crash.

Texas: Although it’s ordinarily a law enforcement officer’s duty to file an accident report, if a crash that isn’t investigated by law enforcement results in bodily injury, death, or estimated property damage of at least $1,000, motorists involved in the wreck need to report that accident to law enforcement within 10 days.

Washington: If an accident isn’t investigated promptly by police and the crash results in bodily injury, death, or estimated property damage in excess of $500, drivers of vehicles involved in the accident must make a written report to police or state patrol within four days.

How Long Do You Have To Report An Accident For Insurance Purposes?

Answering the question of “how long do you have to report an accident” to insurance isn’t straightforward. Generally, you’ll need to take into consideration where you live and the terms of your policy.

Some states, especially those that impose a “no-fault” insurance framework, require accident victims to report accidents to insurance companies within a specific amount of time. But many states don’t. In New York, which does impose a deadline, drivers are required to report injury-related accident claims to insurance providers no later than 30 days after a crash occurs.

If you don’t live in a state that dictates a statute of limitations for insurance claims, the terms of your policy should provide clarity. Chances are that your policy requires you to report an accident within 30 or 60 days.

Having A Lawyer Evaluate Your Case

One of the many reasons why you can benefit from working with an attorney is that a local lawyer will be able to advise you about the kinds of paperwork you need to file in the aftermath of a crash and when you need to file each document. If you’re unsure of how long you have to file either kind of accident report, consider asking a local lawyer for guidance.

How Long Do You Have To Report An Accident In Your State? Ask A Legal Professional

It’s important to file accident reports with the police and insurance providers soon after being injured in a car accident. You can’t afford to miss required reporting deadlines. To learn more about any compensation you may be owed and the deadlines that apply to your case, consider scheduling a free case review today.

Legal Disclaimer: This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation and should not be interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions, you should seek the advice of an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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