June 19, 2023
Auto Accident

Car accidents can be frightening, overwhelming, and chaotic. Amid the commotion of the immediate aftermath, people often wonder whether they must report the incident. In Alabama, there are certain situations in which reporting a car accident is legally mandatory.

Understanding car accident reporting requirements can help you navigate the aftermath of a car accident more effectively. It can also help you receive a settlement if you file a claim for damages.

When and Why to Report Accidents in Alabama

In Alabama, certain circumstances require you to report a car accident. Per state law, you must report an accident to the police or state highway patrol if the collision results in the death or injury of any person.

When you contact 911 after a crash, the dispatcher will send the closest law enforcement officer to the scene. The officer may fill out a police report at the time of the crash. However, you must still complete the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s crash report SR-13 form within 30 days of the collision if the incident resulted in personal injury, death, or property damage of more than $250.

For accidents involving over $500 in damages caused by an uninsured motorist, you should complete Form SR-31 regarding damages for which you have not received compensation.

Reporting an accident isn’t just a legal obligation; it’s also a critical part of establishing an official record of the incident. This record can be crucial for insurance claims. Your Montgomery car accident attorney from The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can use the report to investigate your case and establish fault for your injuries.

The report also serves as an official record, providing evidence such as date, time, location, weather conditions, and other objective information regarding the crash.

The Process of Reporting a Car Accident

Reporting a car accident in Alabama involves assessing the incident and completing the report within the appropriate time frame. Take the following steps after a crash to report the incident:

  • Speak to the officer on the scene: If you or another driver calls 911, an officer will be dispatched to the scene of your accident. When they arrive, they will ask you questions about what occurred. Cooperate with the officer and provide objective details about the accident, including makes and models of the vehicles involved, direction and speed of travel, and weather conditions. 
  • Determine reporting requirement: Assess whether the accident resulted in death, injury, or property damage exceeding $250. If so, reporting the incident on Form SR-13 is required. If you are unsure of the damage amount, err on the side of caution and complete the document to create an official record of the incident.
  • Complete Form SR-13: Collect all relevant details, including date, time, location, parties involved, injuries sustained, and property damage. Within 30 days of the accident, submit a written report through form SR-13 to the Alabama Department of Public Safety. Ensure your account contains accurate and essential information.
  • Complete Form SR-31: If the accident resulted in property damage over $500, injury, or death, complete Form SR-31. This should be done as soon as possible after the accident. SR-31 should only be used when you have not received compensation for the damages, for example, in a hit-and-run incident or a collision with an under- or uninsured driver.

The Consequences of Failing to Report

Failing to report a car accident as required by law in Alabama can impact your personal injury claim. Not reporting can lead to difficulty in gathering evidence, weakened ability to establish liability, and challenges in proving the extent of injuries you sustained.

Without a police report, insurance complications may arise, leading to claim denials or delays. Not reporting an accident can also undermine your credibility and weaken your legal position, potentially resulting in reduced compensation or even dismissal of your personal injury claim. Reporting the accident promptly is crucial for protecting your rights and maximizing your chances of a successful personal injury claim.

Get Expert Assistance and Call The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers

If you’re involved in an accident in Alabama, taking the appropriate reporting steps ensures you comply with state law, but it also helps you maintain a comprehensive record of the incident for insurance and legal purposes.

The attorneys at The Vance Law Firm Injury Lawyers can help you understand your responsibilities after a crash and ensure you report all aspects correctly. Our skilled lawyers can also help you file your claim with the at-fault driver to receive maximum compensation for your injuries.

Contact us today so we can review your case, determine your reporting requirements by law, and help you win a fair settlement.

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