Do I need to call the police after an accident or collision? A practical guide!

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Piotr Kłodziński|
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Do I need to call the police after an accident or collision?
A practical guide

 

Do I need to call the police for a collision? Should the police be called to an accident? When to call the police for an accident? The decision depends on the circumstances: injuries to the participants, suspicion of driving under the influence or the questionability of the perpetrator's guilt. This guide will help you understand when calling the police to the scene of a collision or accident is required and when you can skip this formal obligation - and instead write down the perpetrator's statement.

The most important information

  • Calling the police to the scene of a road accident, whether an accident or a collision, is mandatory in the event of injuries to the participants or suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
  • Failure to notify law enforcement authorities after an accident may lead to insurance recourse, but if the parties agree on the course of the event, calling the police is absolutely not necessary.
  • The declaration of the perpetrator of the collision is a key document in compensation proceedings and should contain full personal data, a description of the circumstances of the incident and photographic documentation.

Road accidents – when is it necessary to call the services?

A policeman at the scene of a road accident

Despite popular belief, calling the police to the scene of a road accident is not always obligatory - especially when the perpetrator pleads guilty. However, there are specific cases when calling the police to the scene of a motor vehicle collision is required. The police must be called when road users are injured or when there is a suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In such situations, the presence of the police is necessary to properly document the incident and the subsequent compensation process.

Should we always call the police after an accident? Not necessarily. Calling the police is not necessary in every situation. If the road accident did not cause any injuries and the perpetrator is known, there is no doubt as to the course of the collision and there is no suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is not necessary to report the incident to the police.

However, it is strongly recommended to call the police in situations where the participants of the event have conflicting accounts of its course - the police will then help in identifying the perpetrator.

What are the consequences of not notifying the police?

Failure to notify law enforcement authorities of a crime may result in a penalty, but this only applies to the most serious crimes specified in the Penal Code. No offenses such as collision. However, fleeing the scene of a collision without notifying the police may result in insurance recourse. This means that the insurer may demand reimbursement of the compensation benefits paid.

However, this is not a rule. Many drivers decide to settle the matter on the spot, without calling the police. This is possible if both parties agree on the course of the event and the perpetrator's guilt. However, please remember that in such a case it is necessary to prepare a reliable statement from the perpetrator of the collision. This statement must clearly indicate the perpetrator, the victim's details, and it is a very good idea to prepare photographic documentation of the scene of the incident. You can also write down the details of each event participant and witnesses.

Accident without fatalities – does the police have to intervene?

Should the police be called to the scene in every case? Not necessarily. The police do not have to be called in the event of a road collision if there are no fatalities or injuries, the perpetrator of the collision is known and there is no suspicion of intoxication or the influence of other substances.

We also recommend calling the police if the perpetrator leaves. The police are also needed, even when it is not possible to identify the perpetrator of the incident.

If the participants in a road collision did not suffer any injuries, there is usually no obligation to call the police to the scene of the accident. However, it is worth noting that if the participant in the collision suffered minor injuries, i.e. injuries that result in impairment of organ functions or health impairment for a period of less than 7 days, calling the police is not obligatory, but it is worth considering their presence to document the course of the event and identify the participants.

All for the good of the compensation process, i.e. the process whose aim is to repair the damage.

How to prepare a statement from the perpetrator of the collision?

A statement from the perpetrator of the collision is an essential element of proceedings after an accident. This is a document that contains all relevant information about the event and can be prepared if the event resulted only in property damage and all parties agree on the circumstances of the event. What information should such a statement contain? Let's take a closer look at this.

Personal and vehicle data

The declaration of the perpetrator of the collision should include full personal data of the perpetrator, such as: name, surname, residential address, ID card number and series, driving license number and telephone number. The statement must also provide details of the perpetrator's vehicle, including the make, model, registration number and VIN number.

Additionally, the statement should include insurance information about the perpetrator's vehicle, which includes the name of the insurer and the third party liability insurance policy number. The injured party's personal data should include the same categories of information as for the perpetrator, as well as information about his vehicle and insurance policy.

Description of the circumstances of the event

The description of the circumstances of the incident is a key element of the statement of the perpetrator of the collision. Here you should describe in detail what happened, where the incident occurred, and indicate the date and time of the accident.

The scope of damage should be carefully described, taking into account the type of damage (e.g. scratch, dent, abrasion, detachment) and their approximate dimensions or size. It is worth attaching a sketch or drawing with the damage marked to the statement, which will facilitate visualization and precision in the description of the damage.

Photographic documentation

Photographing vehicle damage after a collision

Photographic documentation is necessary to properly secure evidence in the event of an accident. Photographing the accident scene allows for a better reconstruction of the circumstances of the incident. Such documentation should be extensive and include multiple perspectives of the scene to accurately reflect the situation.

Photos of vehicle damage serve as evidence that can be used to assess the scale and type of damage. You should attach photos of damage to both your vehicle and the other vehicle to the declaration, which increases the evidentiary value of the documentation.

Useful documents when reporting third party liability insurance damage

When reporting third-party liability insurance damage, in addition to the declaration of the perpetrator of the collision, other documents are also needed. To report a third party liability insurance claim, you need a motor vehicle damage report form and a form claims a compensation document, which precisely describes the event, the damage and the amount of compensation requested.

The declaration must include full personal and address details of the perpetrator and the injured party, detailed data on the vehicles involved, including details of the involved vehicles, such as:

  • mark
  • model
  • registration number
  • VIN
  • information about the perpetrator's liability insurance

As well as data from the registration certificate or card of the injured vehicle, contact details of the person driving the vehicle at the time of the incident, details of the owner or owners of the vehicle and the bank account number to which the compensation is to be sent.

To speed up the process of determining compensation, additional documentation, such as repair cost estimates and medical documentation confirming health damage, may be helpful.

Insurance and calling the police – does it affect the amount of compensation?

Does calling the police affect the amount of compensation? The amount of compensation is not directly related to the fact that the police were called, but to the completeness of the documents and the precision of describing the circumstances of the collision. The presence of the police at the scene of the incident makes it easier to pursue claims against the perpetrator's insurance, and information from the police note is unlikely to be questioned by insurers. Although this is a rule to which there are very few exceptions.

The standard deadline for paying compensation under third party liability insurance is 30 days from the date of reporting, but the presence of police documentation can speed up this process because it explains the circumstances of the incident. Reporting a collision to the police after the fact may make it difficult to determine the circumstances of the incident, which affects the process of identifying the perpetrator and eliminating the damage.

To obtain compensation, it is not always enough to write down a statement in the case of some events; the lack of police documentation may be problematic for the insurer.

Police call to a company car accident

The rules for following a company car accident are slightly different from those for private vehicles. In the event of a company car accident, calling the police may be required by the employer, insurer or lessor. But is it always necessary? Is this always the best solution?
Sometimes calling the police just because a company car was involved in a collision - this is slightly bureaucratic nonsense. But rules are rules. It is always worth contacting the fleet manager, if there is one in your company.

The police will accept any report, although sometimes officers (and rightly so) impose higher fines when they believe that their call was not really necessary - because there were no injured people, i.e. no one was injured, and only fragments of paint on the bumpers were damaged as a result of the collision.

Police call to a leased car accident

The rules regarding leased car accidents are even more complicated. In the event of an accident in a leased car, the lessor may be required to call the police. Although this is a rather rare case. Most lessors, i.e. leasing companies, leave the choice to their clients. If the perpetrator of the accident acknowledges the accident and provides data regarding his/her third party liability insurance, including the name of the insurer and all other data contained in the driving license and registration certificate - and the circumstances of the incident do not raise any doubts - then let's consider whether it is really worth calling the police.

To be sure, it is worth reviewing the documents regarding your leasing in advance or asking the leasing company.

How to behave at the scene of an accident?

Regardless of whether we are the perpetrator or the victim of an accident, there are several rules that we should follow at the scene of the accident. After an accident involving fatalities or injuries, you should:

  1. Provide first aid to the injured.
  2. Call emergency services and the police.
  3. Avoid actions that may hinder the investigation.
  4. Stay at the scene.

Escaping the scene of the accident results in the loss of third party liability insurance coverage, and the responsibility for the damage passes to the perpetrator, who must cover it from his own pocket. Drivers are obliged to:

  • stopping in a way that does not endanger road traffic
  • securing the scene of the incident
  • if there are no fatalities or injuries, remove the vehicle from the road.

After securing the accident site, check if anyone needs help and, if necessary, provide first aid to the injured.

Procedure after an accident – step by step

Regardless of whether we are witnesses or participants in an accident, there are several steps we should take after the event. After an accident involving fatalities or injuries, you should:

  1. Provide first aid to the injured.
  2. Call emergency services and the police.
  3. Avoid actions that may hinder the investigation.
  4. Stay at the scene.

The standard deadline for paying compensation under third party liability insurance is 30 days from the date of reporting, but the presence of police documentation can speed up this process because it explains the circumstances of the incident. Reporting a collision to the police after the fact may make it difficult to determine the circumstances of the incident, which affects the process of identifying the perpetrator and eliminating the damage.

To obtain compensation, it is not always enough to write down a statement in the case of some events; the lack of police documentation may be problematic for the insurer.

Summary

Calling the police to the scene of an accident is only mandatory in certain circumstances, such as injuries to participants or suspected driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In other cases, the decision to call the police depends on the specific situation and the decisions of its participants. However, it is worth remembering that proper documentation of the event, both by the police and the participants themselves, is crucial for the subsequent compensation process. A police patrol is unnecessary when the perpetrator admits that he is at fault for the collision, then the parties can write down a statement together. It is also worth having each participant sign each page of the declaration.

The vast majority of minor accidents should be resolved without the help of the police, because that is enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I always have to call the police after an accident?

Not always, but calling the police is mandatory if you are injured or you suspect driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The at-fault driver's insurance policy will also not be activated so easily if the parties are in dispute as to the cause and outcome of the collision.

Can I settle the matter with the other party myself?

Yes, if both parties agree on the circumstances of the incident and the perpetrator's guilt, you can settle the matter yourself.

What to do if the perpetrator fled the scene?

You should call the police immediately and provide as many details as possible about the perpetrator and his vehicle to increase the chances of catching him.

What should I do if I had an accident in my company car?

In the event of an accident in a company car, it is worth consulting your supervisor or the logistics department, HR or, above all, the fleet manager in your company to determine further steps.

Does calling the police affect the amount of compensation?

Calling the police may facilitate the compensation process and help determine the circumstances of the incident. There is no need to call the police if the perpetrator of the collision is known, and calling the police itself does not affect the amount of compensation.

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