After a minor accident, some drivers may prefer to dispense with making a police report and decide to just go their separate ways. But this practice is never prudent, for several reasons.

For one, what at first appears to be an undamaged vehicle may actually not be. Even with no scraped paint or dented bumpers, your vehicle may have sustained invisible — but serious — structural damage that could prove quite costly to repair.

The same applies to injuries, as not all injuries from auto accidents are immediately apparent. This is especially dangerous after bumps to the head. Victims can experience what is medically known as a lucid interval, where they are conscious and conversing normally, only to suffer dramatic and life-threatening complications within minutes.

Even when you don’t suffer injuries or sustain vehicular damage from an accident, it’s important to make a police report. The other driver may agree there is no need to file a report, but leaves and files one anyway, perhaps including damage or injuries from a previous accident or ongoing medical condition.

Understand, too, that auto insurance companies have different but specific time-frames in which claimants can report accidents. Failing to do so within the designated time period could negate any subsequent coverage for claims arising from the accident. You could wind up being personally responsible for another motorist’s alleged injuries or vehicular damage if you fail to timely report the incident to your auto insurance provider.

If you do decide to seek compensation after getting into an accident with another driver, the lack of a police report could be a hindrance to you successfully proceeding with your claim for damages.

Source: FindLaw, “How Long Do you Have to Report a Car Accident?,” accessed April 20, 2018