Car accident reporting minimums and deadlines for all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
When do you have to report a car accident in your state?
By PIeRCE | SKRABANEK
PUBLISHED ON:
August 10, 2023
UPDATED ON:
November 29, 2023

Car Accident Reporting by State (Comprehensive Guide)

Every state has its unique regulations regarding the reporting of car accidents. As a general guideline, it is advisable to inform the local police and await their arrival at the scene, enabling them to create an official accident report. However, in minor accidents, law enforcement might not respond, leaving the decision of whether to report the incident to your discretion.

In every state, a Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) report is mandatory in the event of an accident involving injury or fatality. However, certain states waive the reporting requirement for accidents with only property damage costs below a certain amount. The timeframe for filing such reports also differs between states. 

Use this resource from Pierce Skrabanek to learn the minimum reporting threshold for each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia (D.C.) and Puerto Rico.

If you need legal assistance for a car, truck, or pedestrian accident, Pierce Skrabanek is headquartered in Houston and can help you with a free consultation for personal injury claims. Reach out to us online or by calling (832) 690-7000 to discuss your needs for representation.

Why Are There Differences in Car Accident Reporting Between States?

The differences in car accident reporting between states primarily stem from the fact that traffic laws and regulations are primarily governed at the state level in the United States. Each state has its own legislative process and the authority to create its unique set of rules and requirements concerning various aspects of driving, including accident reporting.

Several factors contribute to these variations:

  • State legislature decisions: State legislatures pass laws and statutes related to driving, vehicle regulations, and accident reporting. The priorities, political ideologies, and public safety concerns of each state's lawmakers influence the specific rules they establish.
  • Traffic safety policies: States may have varying traffic safety policies based on their understanding of local traffic patterns, population density, road infrastructure, geographical features related to rural vs. city areas, and accident statistics. These policies shape the reporting requirements to enhance safety and address unique regional challenges.
  • Resource allocation: Different states have varying resources and budget allocations for law enforcement and public services. Some states may have more extensive police forces and prioritize accident reporting, while others might focus on different areas of law enforcement.
  • Public input and advocacy: Public input and advocacy play a role in shaping state laws. If there is significant demand or support for specific reporting requirements, states may be more likely to implement them.
  • Local legal considerations: The legal system in each state may impact accident reporting laws. For instance, states with no-fault insurance systems might have different reporting requirements compared to states with a traditional fault-based system.

Due to these differences, it is essential for drivers to be aware of the specific reporting requirements in the state where they are driving to ensure compliance with the law and to promote road safety.

Protect Your Rights
While an accident that requires a police report is automatically filed with the DMV or your state’s government transportation office, all parties involved in other minor accidents should make their own independent reports. If the other driver files a report and claims you were at fault for the crash, you could be legally disadvantaged for not having reported your version of the events right away.

Contact car accident attorneys at Pierce Skrabanek at (832) 690-7000 for assistance in filing police reports, DMV reports, insurance claims, and civil demands or lawsuits against the other party. You may qualify for compensation if their negligence has cost you in money, time, or pain and suffering.


Car Accident Reporting Laws by State

To file a non-injury, non-fatality accident report at the DMV, your crash must meet a minimum standard of significance. Here are the minimum reporting thresholds for each state, including the District of Columbia (D.C.) and Puerto Rico:

Alabama

  • Crashes must be reported in incidents of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500 from an uninsured motorist.
  • Deadline: 30 days

Alaska

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death or injury or when property damage exceeds $2,000.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Arizona

  • Crashes are required to be reported involving death, injury, property damage that exceeds $300, or if a settlement for the crash not been reached within 6 months.
  • Deadline: 6 months

Arkansas

  • Crashes involving property damage exceeding $1,000 are required to be reported to the police or DMV. Crashes involving death or injury are required to be reported immediately. 
  • Deadline: 30 days (for property damage)

California

  • Crashes are required to be reported in instances of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,000
  • Deadline: 10 days

Colorado

  • An accident report is required for any crash resulting in death, injury, or any property damage. There is no minimum amount, all accidents causing damage of any kind or cost must be reported.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Connecticut

  • Crashes are required to be reported when any person is killed, injured, or when property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: 5 days

Delaware

  • Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death, injury or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: Immediately

District of Columbia

  • Crashes are required to be reported when property damage is above $250.
  • Deadline: 5 days

Florida

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death or injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: As soon as possible

Georgia

  • Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Hawaii

  • Crashes are required to be immediately reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage is above $3,000.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Idaho

  • Crashes resulting in death, injury, or property damage that exceed $1,500 are required to be reported.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Illinois

  • Crashes are required to be reported to the Department of Transportation (DOT) in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,500, or $500 if uninsured vehicles are involved.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Indiana

  • Crashes are required to be immediately reported if they result in death, injury, or property damage above $750.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Iowa

  • Drivers are not required to fill out a separate DOT report for an accident resulting in death, personal injury, or damage of $1,500 or more if the accident is investigated by a law enforcement agency.
  • Deadline: 3 days (if an accident report is required)

Kansas

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,500.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Kentucky

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases or death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Louisiana

  • Vehicle crashes must be reported right away in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500. Crashes with property damage above $100 but below $500 can be reported the day after.
  • Deadline: Immediately (for $500+ damages) or 1 day (for $100-$499.99 damages)

Maine

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Maryland

  • Crashes are required to be reported only in cases of injury or death. There is no minimum amount of property damage that requires reporting.
  • Deadline: 15 days (for death or injury only)

Massachusetts

  • Collisions are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or if property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: 5 days

Michigan

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or for property damage in excess of $1,000.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Minnesota

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or for property damage above $1,000.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Mississippi

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Missouri

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: 5 days

Montana

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Nebraska

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage is above $1,000.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Nevada

  • All crashes are required to be reported right away.
  • Deadline: Immediately

New Hampshire

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: 15 days

New Jersey

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage is above $500.
  • Deadline: Immediately

New Mexico

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $500.
  • Deadline: Immediately

New York

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death, injury, or if property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: 10 days

North Carolina

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or if property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: Immediately

North Dakota

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death, injury or when property damage exceeds $1,000.  Only crashes resulting in property damage with an undomesticated animal (as in livestock transport) are exempt from reporting.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Ohio

  • All crashes are required to be reported.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Oklahoma

  • Crashes are required to be reported right away when involving death or injury. Crashes involving property damage above $500 must be reported within 6 months.
  • Deadline: Immediately (for death or injury) or 6 months (for property damage)

Oregon

  • Oregon law requires the driver to fill out a crash report with the DMV in cases of Injury or death, or if there is more than $2,500 in damage to any vehicle, to any property other than a vehicle, or if any vehicle is towed from the scene.
  • Oregon drivers must also stop and investigate if they think they’ve hit something, or suspect later that they hit something. Drivers must call 911 if there’s any injury or fatality. Failure to perform the duties of a driver involved in a motor vehicle crash can result in felony charges.
  • Deadline: 72 hours

Pennsylvania

  • Crashes are required to be reported immediately in cases of death, injury, or when a vehicle is rendered disabled. 
  • Deadline: 5 days

Rhode Island

  • Crashes are required to be reported in instances of death, injury, or when property damage is in excess of $1,000.
  • Deadline: 21 days

South Carolina

  • Collisions are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage is in above of $1,000.
  • Deadline: 15 days

South Dakota

  • Crashes are required to be reported in case of death, injury, or when property damage is in excess of $1,000 for one person’s property, or $2,000 for an accident’s total property damage.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Tennessee

  • Crashes must be reported in case of death, injury, or when property damage is in excess of $50.
  • Crashes involving death, injury, or when property damage is in excess of $400 must be reported in writing within 20 days.
  • Deadline: Immediately (for death, injury, or property damage between $50 and $399) or 20 days (for death, injury, or property damage more than $400 — report to be submitted in writing)

Texas

  • Crashes resulting in death, injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000 are required to be reported.
  • Deadline: Immediately (for death or injury) or 10 days (for property damage)

Utah

  • Crashes must be reported in case of death, injury, or when property damage is above $1,000.
  • Deadline: 10 days

Vermont

  • Collisions must be reported in case of death, injury, or when property damage is in excess of $3,000.
  • Deadline: 3 days

Virginia

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death or injury. There is no requirement to report property damage for accidents where no one is injured or killed.
  • Deadline: Immediately (for death or injury)

Washington

  • Crashes are required to be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $700.
  • Deadline: 4 days

West Virginia

  • Crashes resulting in death, injury, or property damage in excess of $1,000 must be reported.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Wisconsin

  • Crashes are required to be reported when involving death or injury, when private property damage exceeds $1,000, or when government property damage exceeds $200.
  • Deadline: Immediately (to law enforcement by the quickest means of communication)

Wyoming

  • Crashes must be reported in cases of death, injury, or when property damage exceeds $1,000.
  • Deadline: Immediately

Puerto Rico

  • Crashes resulting in injury or any property damage must be be reported.
  • Deadline: 4 hours

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Contact Pierce Skrabanek

For specific legal advice and calculations related to your damaged property, lost wages, or medical bills, contact an experienced car accident attorney in your local area. Your lawyer can help you report your accident to all the appropriate entities, gather evidence, file a claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and pursue a civil lawsuit against any negligent parties for the cost of the accident as needed.

Pierce Skrabanek is located in Texas with an extensive record of car accident case results, including a $117 million recovery for a catastrophic injury to a twenty-one-year-old mother of two.

Contact Pierce Skrabanek in Houston at (832) 690-7000 to explore your compensation options after a car accident. Settlement negotiations handled by a lawyer average 300% higher than the sums negotiated by unrepresented individuals. Let us handle the paperwork while you get your life back on track.

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