Car accidents are not only extremely dangerous but also psychologically traumatizing. People involved in accidents are sometimes so beside themselves that they forget to report the crash to the authorities.
It is important to remember that you must report certain accidents to the police. Under Arkansas law, you have about 30 days from the date of your collision to report the accident to the proper authorities. However, only certain accidents are required to be reported. Minor collisions may be handled privately without getting law enforcement involved. You must also inform your insurance company of the crash. Reporting requirements for insurance is a bit harder to determine as each insurance company might have its own rules and regulations. Generally, the longer you wait, the less likely the insurance company will approve your claims.
If you were recently involved in a car accident and are unsure of who to notify and how, our Arkansas car accident lawyers can assist you. For a free assessment of your case, call our dedicated team at (479) 316-0438.
How Long You Have to Report a Car Accident to the Authorities in Arkansas
Accidents are sometimes very serious, and emergency help must be called. Other accidents are less severe, and the drivers involved might want to work things out privately without calling the police or getting insurance involved. While this might be tempting, you must contact the authorities for certain accidents. Our Bella Vista car accident lawyers can help you if you are unsure how.
According to Arkansas Code § 27-19-501, accidents involving over $1,000 in damage, bodily injuries, or death must be reported. Drivers have no more than 30 days to report the accident to the Office of Driver Services in Arkansas. Failure to make a timely report might lead to penalties against your driver’s license and possible criminal penalties, depending on the accident.
When filing a report about your accident with the Office of Driver Services, you must also provide proof of insurance. Under Arkansas Code § 27-19-505, you have 50 days from the accident to submit proof of insurance. This proof should come as an official form or document from your insurance provider stating that you are indeed covered. All drivers in Arkansas are legally required to carry insurance. Failure to carry insurance may lead to further penalties.
How Long You Have to Report Your Car Accident to Your Insurance in Arkansas
Reporting your car accident to your insurance company is a bit different than reporting it to the state or local authorities. While accidents must be reported to the Office of Driver Services within 30 days as a matter of state law, insurance companies may have their own rules. Insurance companies are heavily regulated, but they can still promulgate their own rules and procedures as private companies. Our Bentonville car accident attorneys can help you figure out when you need to inform your insurance company of your accident.
If possible, you should report your accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. Many insurance companies like to see accidents reported within 24 hours. The sooner you report, the more likely the insurance company is to grant your claim for payment. Generally, insurance companies have deadlines for when accidents can be reported. You cannot call your insurance company and file a claim for an accident that happened a year ago. Your exact deadline might vary depending on your insurance provider, but many companies have deadlines of about a few weeks.
What Happens if I Wait to Report a Car Accident in Arkansas?
Many people wait to report their accidents. Often, injured drivers are unaware they have to make such a report, and they assume that someone else contacted the police or Office of Driver Services. In other cases, drivers might be so injured that they cannot make the report until they recover. No matter your reason for waiting, you might put your claims at risk if you wait too long.
Waiting too long to report your accident to the authorities might lead to legal penalties. Under Arkansas Code § 27-19-302, failing to report a car accident may be punished by a fine of up to $100. While this seems like a slap on the wrist, this penalty is mostly administrative. If you fail to report a serious accident in which someone was injured or killed, there might be serious criminal penalties.
You also risk your insurance claim if you wait to report your crash to your insurance provider. Even if you are within the deadline, waiting even a few days to notify your insurance company might raise a red flag on your claim. You will likely be asked why you waited so long, and what you were doing during the days you did not report the crash. It is important to be very careful about answering these questions because the insurance company is itching for a way to get out of paying what you are entitled to. Our Farmington car accident lawyers can help you work with your insurance company to settle your claim.
Why Wait to Report a Car Accident in Arkansas?
Perhaps the biggest reason people wait to notify the authorities or their insurance companies about car crashes is that they are physically unable to do so. Injured drivers might be in the hospital or laid up at home and cannot go through the necessary steps to make the call. Do not worry, as provisions are made for people who cannot report their accidents.
Under Arkansas Code § 27-19-509, accident reports are not required when the driver is so injured that they are incapable of reporting. In some cases, vehicle owners do not make timely reports because they do not know their car was in an accident. You might have loaned your car to a friend for a while only to learn they were in a crash and did not tell you because they were in the hospital.
Vehicle owners who were not involved in the accident must report the accident within 5 days of learning of the crash. You can explain this situation to the authorities and your insurance company. With the help of our Arkansas car accident lawyers, you can still recover for your damages.
Call Our Arkansas Car Accident Lawyers for Help Reporting Your Accident
If you were hurt in a car accident but did not know how to report the accident or fear you have waited too long, our Fayetteville car accident lawyers can assist you. For a free case evaluation, call our offices at (479) 316-0438.