Minor Car Accidents: To Report, or Not to Report?

There are thousands of car accidents every day in the United States. In fact, in a single year there are typically over five million crashes, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If that number sounds high, it’s because more than 50% of those accidents are minor. For many people, this brings up the following question: Do I need to report a minor traffic accident in which no injuries occurred? Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney Today.

Especially in and around cities, heavy traffic can make accidents difficult to avoid. Thousands of people, many of whom are running late for work or to get to a child’s sporting event, weave in and out of congested traffic, increasing the likelihood of an accident with every vehicle they pass. Heavy traffic also means lots of stopping and starting, both of which can increase your risk of hitting the car in front of you or being rear-ended.

Do I Need to Report a Fender Bender?

When minor accidents or fender benders occur, what should you do? Well, much of that answer depends on the state you are in when the accident occurs. In Massachusetts, you must contact law enforcement at the time of the accident, and submit a motor vehicle crash operator report within 5 days of the accident, if either of the following circumstances are present:

  • The accident resulted in injury or death
  • Damage to one person’s property or vehicle exceeded $1,000.00
  • Never Leave the Scene of an Accident

If nobody was injured and property damage is under $1,000, the accident does not need to be reported. However, do not confuse the reporting exemption with the ability to leave the scene of an accident. If you are involved in any type of auto accident, regardless of how minor, you are required to stop and exchange information with the other parties involved. In Massachusetts, the information you are required to provide to the other motorist(s) is:

  • Name, address, and phone number
  • Driver’s license number
  • License plate number
  • Insurance information

It should be noted that if you leave the sign of an accident, even if no property damage or injuries occurred, your driving privileges may be suspended.

Do I Need to Contact My Insurance Company?

Every auto insurance carrier requires immediate reporting of motor vehicle accidents. If you fail to do so, the decision may come back to bite you. For example, if the other driver notices property damage a few days later and files a claim, you may be denied coverage due to your failure to report the accident when it occurred.

Altman & Altman, LLP – Auto Accident Lawyers for More than 50 Years

At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have seen too many minor accidents turn into stressful, costly lawsuits simply because the parties involved made the wrong decision at the time of the accident. You can never be too careful with car accident reporting. Physical ailments and property damage can always turn up after the incident, so it’s important to have the other person’s contact information and as much evidence as you can gather. Pictures of the scene, even if no major injuries or property damage occurred, can be immensely helpful. Contacting law enforcement also helps by creating supporting documentation in the form of a police report. If you have been involved in any type of motor vehicle accident, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.


Contact Information