It isn't always easy to know what steps to take after a car accident. Do you need to report any accident you're involved in? If so, where do you report it? What are the penalties for failing to report a car accident? Kansas, like most other states, has state laws that provide the answers to these questions. Read on to learn more.
Kansas has a limited car accident reporting law. In Kansas, the driver of a vehicle involved in an accident does not have to report the accident if a police officer came to the accident scene.
If a police officer did not come to the accident scene, the driver must report the accident if:
The driver must report the accident to the nearest office of a "duly authorized police authority" in the state. That includes the Kansas Highway Patrol, a county sheriff's office, or a local police department.
The driver must report the accident "immediately," by the quickest available means of communication. This would mean by cell phone, if the driver has one. If the driver has no cell phone, then by pay phone, someone else's cell phone, or by going to the nearest police department.
The law is slightly different in situations where the driver hits an unattended vehicle. In that case, if there is any damage to the unattended vehicle, the driver must "without unnecessary delay" notify the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority.
Once a driver has orally reported an accident, he/she does not have to file a written accident report unless the Kansas Division of Vehicles specifically requires it.
Failure to immediately report a reportable car accident in Kansas is punishable by suspension of the driver's license until the report has been filed, and the suspension could continue for up to 30 days after the report was filed. If the driver is subsequently required to file a written report, and fails to do so, the driver can be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one month in jail.
If the driver is physically incapable of making a report, any occupant of the driver's vehicle who is 18 years of age or older can make the report.
For more information on the rules for reporting a car accident in Kansas, you can refer to Kansas Statutes sections 8-1604, 8-1605, and 8-1609. (Check out the official online version of Kansas Statutes, Chapter 8, Article 16 to see all of the relevant sections.)
There is no Kansas law that requires a vehicle operator or owner to report a car accident to the owner's car insurance company, but standard automobile insurance contracts almost always require the insured to report any accident very soon after the accident. If the insured fails to report an accident within a reasonable period of time (like, within a day or two), the insurer may deny coverage for the accident.
Thus, even if the crash was minor and did not rise to the level of "reportable" under Kansas law, you want to report any car accident to your automobile insurer just to make sure that the insurer will provide coverage for the accident in case you need it.
Reporting a car accident may be just the first step for drivers involved in a car accident. When an accident results in serious injuries, or if key issues like fault for the accident are being disputed by the other driver (and his or her insurance carrier) it might be a good idea to contact an experienced Kansas car accident lawyer to discuss your situation and make sure your legal rights are protected. Learn more about Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer.