After a car accident, you're sure to have a lot on your mind, between dealing with insurance, possible car repair, and medical treatment. Letting the Department of Motor Vehicles know about the accident is probably pretty far down on your list of things to worry about.
Unfortunately, failure to report an accident to the DMV could cause problems for you down the line. All states require that accidents involving injury or death be reported, but the reporting requirements for property damage vary widely from state to state, with some states requiring that any accident involving property damage be reported, while others don't require reporting unless the property damage reaches a certain amount.
Most states now allow you to report accidents via an online form or portal. Some might require you to fill out a form, print it, and mail it.
If you're in doubt, contact your state's DMV for additional information.
The police might handle the reporting requirement for you, but you may be responsible for making sure that the report is actually filed. It's always in your best interest to confirm with the DMV, ideally in writing.
States with online portals may allow you to look this information up for yourself. Make sure that you download a copy or take a screenshot of any confirmation you're given. Keep any emails and written communication, too. You might never need this information, but it's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
Depending on your state laws, you could be fined or even have your driver's license suspended. The risks of not reporting are serious enough that you should err on the side of caution.
There is no centralized place to look up state requirements. Each individual state handles its own requirements. To be certain what your responsibilities are, check with your state DMV. You can find the link for your state by doing a web search or looking on this page.
It might be best to consult with a lawyer if this is the case. Your lawyer can answer any questions you have.
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