A lot of uncertainty can follow a Baton Rouge car accident. There’s often lots of conflicting information. You may not know whether you need to contact your insurance company or go to the doctor. Another important step you may be in doubt about is whether you need to report the accident. If you intend to seek compensation for injuries and property damage sustained in the crash, you’ll need to do everything that’s required. A vehicle accident attorney can advise you on all that you need to do.
Accident Reporting Requirements in Louisiana
If you get into an accident in Louisiana, you need to follow specific reporting requirements under certain circumstances. It is a legal requirement to call the police if a crash results in:
- Property damage in excess of $500
In addition, you also need to submit a written report to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPSC) within 24 hours if the accident resulted in:
- Property damage in excess of $100
If you don’t follow the law, you can face up to 60 days in prison, a fine of up to $100 or both. If you want to avoid additional hardship following the accident, you should comply with the requirements.
The law, Louisiana Revised Statutes Tit. 32, § 398, requires you to contact law enforcement immediately using the fastest means of communication. Most people have a cellphone but if you don’t, you can ask a bystander to lend you theirs or go to a nearby business. If the accident appears serious, someone is likely to call the police on your behalf in any case. If you are able, you can also walk or drive to the nearest police station. Otherwise, simply report the accident as soon as you can.
Why Filing an Accident Report is So Important
Reporting an accident may seem like a hassle. However, it’s not just a legal obligation. It is in your best interest to make the report. It allows for the creation of an official document that you can use as evidence if you file an insurance claim or lawsuit. If you plan to seek compensation, you’ll need all the supporting documentation you can get. Your car accident attorney in Baton Rouge will use it to build a strong case for compensation.
It is almost impossible to determine the full extent of your injuries or the scope of property damage at the scene. If you don’t report the accident but you later decide to seek compensation, you will run into difficulty. You would have no record that the accident occurred. A key aspect of recovering damages is proving that the accident led to your injuries. That’s why you need to call the local police, sheriff or state police and go to the doctor immediately after your crash.
How to File an Accident Report in Louisiana
You’ll have to fill out a Louisiana Accident Report form and submit it via email or mail it to the DPSC. You will need to supply:
- The name, address, and driver’s license numbers of all motorists involved in the accident
- The vehicle registration numbers and license plate numbers for all vehicles involved
- Insurance information for all motorists
- Details about the crash date, time and location, weather conditions, road conditions, and any other relevant information
Once the police investigation has been conducted, the responding officer must send a written report to the DPSC within 48 hours. You can request a copy of the crash report which is typically available within seven to ten days. A small fee usually applies. If you don’t get the report on your own, your lawyer can get it for you.
Contact the Experienced Team at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers Today!
If you suffered injuries in a car accident, you need to seek help from a Baton Rouge car accident lawyer. If you contact us immediately after the crash, we can guide you on everything you need to do. However, it helps to be prepared well ahead of time so you can protect your interests from the start. We’ll use the accident report and other evidence to get you the compensation you deserve. You may be entitled to recover the money you spent on medical bills as well as lost wages, pain, and suffering and more. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn about your legal options. You have nothing to lose by calling us.