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Alabama Car Accident Reporting Basics

As Alabama's urban population continues to swell, car accidents in cities are also on the rise. In fact, 76 percent of Alabama crashes occur within urban areas. However, accidents in rural areas of the state result in a greater number of personal injuries. No matter where your accident occurs, you need to become familiar with Alabama car accident reporting basics.

How to File a Car Crash Report in Alabama

This chart provides a summary of Alabama laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.

State Accident Statutes
When to Call the Police After an Accident
  • You much call the police immediately after an accident when:
  • Any person is injured or killed
  • You do not need to call the police if only property damage occurs
When to File an Accident Report
  • You much file an SR-31 report when:
  • Any person is injured or killed
  • There is more than $500 in damage to any one person's property
Crash Reporting

Note: Laws are subject to change. It's important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with an Alabama attorney.

When to Report an Auto Accident in Alabama

In Alabama, the police do not have to investigate a car crash that only results in property damage, so there is no need to contact them. The law simply asks you to move off the roadway, if safe to do so, and exchange information with the other parties to the accident.

Drivers are required to immediately call law enforcement when a crash causes an injury or death. When a reportable accident occurs on an Alabama highway, you should dial *HP (*47)

to reach the nearest state trooper post. Dial 911 for all other car accidents. All appropriate emergency response services will be dispatched by their office. Be aware that many large cities in Alabama, such as Birmingham and Mobile, have their own reporting requirements.

Written Report After an Accident with an Uninsured Driver

If you're in a collision with an uninsured driver, you can file an SR-31 report with the Alabama Department of Public Safety. This form contains a "claims" section that will allow the Department to take administrative against an at-fault driver with no insurance. A driver should only submit this form if they believe the other driver is responsible for their damage, and one of the following occurred:

  • Someone was injured or killed
  • You suffered more than $500 in property damage and you have not received compensation

Repair Shop's Duty to Report Vehicle with Accident Damage

After an accident, a driver may be tempted to deny their involvement and have the damage to their car repaired before anyone notices. Not only is this is a very bad idea, but the State of Alabama has created a law to catch unscrupulous motorists. When a vehicle is brought to a repair shop to fix damage caused by a crash, the shop manager must report the vehicle within 24 hours. Authorities will be provided with the vehicle's engine number, registration number, and the name and address of the owner or operator.

What Happens if You Don't File an Alabama Accident Report?

Alabama is tough on drivers who fail to immediately report an accident to police. If the accident only results in property damage, a driver risks being convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties could include a $6,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Failure to report an injury-causing accident may be punished as a class C felony if a death results. So if you're involved in an accident, call it in to local law enforcement.

Talk to an Attorney About Your Alabama Car Accident Claim

You don't have to figure out what to do after a car accident on your own. An experienced Alabama attorney can help you sort out your car accident claim and help protect your rights during the process. Get started today by contacting a local injury attorney to learn more about how the law applies to the facts of your claim.

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