According to Utah law, all drivers involved in a car accident have a legal responsibility to contact law enforcement in the event of injury, death, or damage to property – in practice, this will cover most auto collisions. The police will typically be dispatched if there are any fatalities or serious injuries as a result of the crash, if the traffic is blocked by debris or cars from the collision, or if a hazard has been reported, such as a broken power line, a fuel leak, or an overturned car. In case you faced car accident issues contact our Salt Lake City car accident attorneys.
What Will Police Do at The Scene?
When they arrive, there are a few essential tasks which police officers are required to carry out, including:
- Securing the scene and ensuring that everything is safe
- Work with paramedics to ensure that the injured are taken care of or transported to receive further care
- Gather any evidence and determine who was at fault
- Conduct sobriety tests on drivers and passengers
- Issue any citations which may be required
It is important to note that any law enforcement professional at the scene has no legal obligation to listen to you; their job is to secure the scene and ensure safety. This is not the time to plead your case; simply listen to any instructions, and follow them without complaint to help ensure that you minimize any trouble.
What Happens If I am Issued with a Citation?
If the officer at the scene determines that you have broken or violated any traffic laws, they may issue you with a citation. Once again, this is not the time to argue your innocence or plead your case; once the ticket has been issued, you should accept it and cooperate fully. This does not mean that you admit guilt; you will be able to dispute the ticket later in court, but the scene of the accident is not the place to do this.
What Can I Do?
While you should not argue with or interfere with police work, their presence at the scene can nonetheless be useful for your insurance claim; simply calling them in the first place paints you in a positive light and will allow the provider to look at your case more favorably.
Some drivers will also prefer to wait until the police arrive to exchange essential contact details; this can help to ensure the cooperation of all parties. These details include:
- Name of the driver and any passengers
- The license plate numbers of all vehicles involved
- The insurance information of the other driver involved
- The make, model, and year of the vehicle
- The location of the crash
- The name and badge number of any police officers who respond to the accident
- Contact details from any witnesses who are willing to testify – witnesses are not legally required to talk to you, but gaining any evidence or signed statements from them can be extremely useful to your case.