If you recently got into a car accident, you may be wondering what you’re supposed to do next, whether for your own benefit or for the requirements of state laws.
Of course, you should seek medical attention and see a doctor immediately.
But after that, you are required to file a Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report within five days if:
- You are one of the drivers involved in a car accident
- Someone else drove your motor vehicle while under the influence
And even if you haven’t gotten into any car accidents, it is in your best interest to get familiar with the process.
This will help you make sure you will be prepared to deal with not only accident reports, but also getting an insurance claim or taking legal action.
Is an Accident Report Always Required After a Car Accident?
An accident report – otherwise known as a crash report – is always required after an automobile accident involving at least one vehicle.
This is required under Massachusetts law, which states that every car accident should be reported within five days if:
- Someone was killed,
- Someone was injured, or
- Property damage costing more than $1000 was sustained (whether on a motor vehicle, a building, or any other type of property).
In most cases, a Massachusetts motor vehicle crash report is filed by the police officer that arrives on the accident scene. The police officer will take notes on who was involved, what was damaged, and who or what they think caused the crash.
Is There a Special Accident Report for Drivers Involved in Car Accidents?
However, Massachusetts law is even stricter when it comes to the drivers involved.
Even if the local police department files its own police report of the crash, every driver of a motor vehicle involved in the crash is required to file a Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report.
Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator reports are special accident reports filed only by the drivers (or, sometimes, owners) of the motor vehicles involved in the car accident. It does not apply to all of the individuals involved.
Who Is Required to File a Car Accident Report in Massachusetts?
Since a car accident can happen under many different circumstances, there are actually three types of people who are required to file a Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report.
First, a person is required to file a crash operator report if they are a driver of a motor vehicle involved in a car accident.
Second, a person is required to file a crash operator report if the person unlawfully left the crash scene. This applies even if the property damage costs less than $1000.
Third, a person is required to file a crash operator report if they own a vehicle involved in the car accident. This applies when the driver was under the influence when the crash occurred, and thus the vehicle’s owner should be held responsible.
If you fall into at least one of these categories, you will need to file a copy of your motor vehicle crash operator report with whichever one of the local Massachusetts police agencies has jurisdiction over the accident site.
You will also need to have a copy of the report filed with your auto insurance company, as well as the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).
What Happens If You Don’t File Accident Reports for Motor Vehicles?
If you don’t file a motor vehicle crash operator report within five days after learning of its occurrence (if you own the motor vehicle but weren’t driving), there are several possible consequences:
- You will be charged a fee.
- The RMV will suspend your license.
- You will face criminal penalties or criminal charges.
These consequences apply whether you were at fault for the car accident or not.
How Can Filing a Motor Vehicle Crash Report Help You?
Filing a motor vehicle crash report can help you in several ways.
It will help:
- Get your vehicle repaired or replaced
- Get your medical attention for any injuries
- Speed up the investigation carried out by the police department
- Support your insurance claim
The last reason is often the most important, especially if you’re trying to get health, property, or auto insurance from your insurance agency or the other driver’s insurance company.
As any insurance agent would tell you, an insurance agency has very strict requirements for an insurance claim.
This is why it’s important to get all the necessary crash reports filed so that the insurance company has all the auto insurance information they need.
Filing a Car Crash Report in Massachusetts
To file a car crash report involving at least one vehicle, you need to do three main things: gather evidence, fill out the crash report, and send copies to the necessary institutions.
The most important thing you’ll need to do to file your crash report as accurately as possible is to gather evidence.
This can be done by taking as many pictures as you can of the scene of the accident. Be sure to take pictures of any property damage, any injuries you sustained, and the state of the location.
These pictures can help prove who was at fault for the accident, especially if the other driver proves to be less than compliant.
However, if you are physically incapable of doing this yourself, you will have to rely on the police department to note everything down in their police report. They should collect evidence, as well as deduce who is truly at fault for the accident.
You can then get a copy of the police report and file your own crash report once you are well enough.
Filling Out the Crash Report
When it comes to actually filling out the crash report, you will need to provide information that is as detailed as possible.
Here’s a quick summary of the information you need for the crash report:
- Location and time of the accident
- Your license plate number
- Your insurance company
- Your contact details and mailing address
- The cause of the crash
- Information on you and your passengers
- The other driver’s license number
- The other driver’s insurance information
- Weather conditions during the accident
- Information on the witnesses
- Information on any property damage
Where Do You File a Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report?
Once you’re done filling out the accident report, you will need to send a copy to the police department, your insurance company, and the RMV, which is the official crash records registry.
The RMV has the following address:
Registry of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 55889
Boston, MA 02205-5889
What Should You Do After Filing the Motor Vehicle Crash Report?
If you were injured in the accident and it was the fault of the other vehicle, you will most likely want full and fair compensation.
If this is the case, you will want to consult a lawyer who can help you with a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can also help you deal with the aftermath of the accident, especially when it comes to insurance companies
Need Help? Call the car accident attorneys at Kiley Law Group and get a free consultation!
Car accidents cost a pretty penny. From fixing damages, treating injuries, possible maintenance medication, and in certain conditions, taking the matter to court, the bills will surely rack up to thousands of dollars.
Whether you were at fault or the unfortunate victim, thorough documentation will save you from a lot of headaches.
A vehicle crash report can be used to prove your innocence, get full compensation, or possibly lighten the consequences depending on your situation.
Now, it is important to remember that while filing for a car crash report is simple and straightforward, it can take up to four (4) weeks at most to get your documents.
If you need help dealing with the aftermath of a car accident, our attorneys here at Kiley Law Group have got you covered.
We’ve been dealing with personal injury cases for 40 years, and during that time, we have won over 500 million dollars for our clients!
You can get a free consultation from our attorneys by calling us at 888.435.1321 or contacting us on our Contact page.