Imagine you are driving through the grocery store parking lot and you see an open spot ahead. You head towards it when, out of nowhere, WHAM! Another driver, backing out of a space, hits you. It may be tempting to handle things without reporting the accident, but failing to report could be a violation of Idaho law. So if you drive in Idaho, it’s important to understand the basics of Idaho’s car accident reporting requirements and procedures.
How to File a Car Crash Report in Idaho
This chart provides a summary of Idaho laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Idaho Car Crash Reporting Laws
After an accident, it’s important to remain calm and, if possible, pull your vehicle over to a safe location that does not block traffic. Idaho law requires you to exchange information with the other parties to the accident. Plus, you must immediately notify the police if the accident results in:
- Injury or death of any person
- More than $1,500 in damage to the property of any one person
Dialing 9-1-1 is the easiest way to report your accident. If you did not call from the scene, contact the police as soon as possible to notify them about the accident. Failure to properly report a crash could result in your driving privileges being revoked.
Create a Personal Accident Report in Idaho
If the police are unable to go to the crash scene, it’s a good idea to create your own accident report. The report will be useful to your car insurance company and create a record of the events while they are fresh in your mind. Include the following information in your accident report:
- Description of the crash, including how many people were in both car
- Name and insurance information of everyone involved
- Names of witnesses and their detailed accounts of the crash
- Details about damages and injuries
- Diagram of the accident scene
- Photos of damage and video statements
Repair Shops Must Report Crash Damage
Trying to hide evidence of a car accident is a crime. In the past, a few dishonest drivers have attempted to repair the damage to their cars to avoid detection. The State of Idaho cracked down on this practice by passing a law requiring repair shops to report any car they receive that shows evidence of having been in an accident. Within 48 hours of receiving the vehicle, the shop manager must report to the nearest law enforcement agency the engine number, registration number, and the name and address of the owner or operator of the vehicle.
Your Police Crash Report
When law enforcement responds to an accident, they typically create a report based on their investigation. Even if officers don’t respond to the scene, a report may be made based on post-accident interviews with drivers and witnesses.
Idaho law requires these completed reports to be filed with the Idaho Department of Transportation within 24 hours after the investigation is complete. Since accident reports are considered public documents, they can be purchased for a small fee. Reports are available directly from the agency that responded to the accident or the DMV, including:
Contact an Idaho Attorney After Your Accident
After a car accident, many people avoid or delay retaining an attorney because it seems like an additional hassle. However, when you're injured, or suffer significant property damage, being properly compensated can quickly turn into a complex legal process. Your attorney can negotiate on your behalf and make sure you're treated fairly. Get started today by contacting an Idaho car accident attorney.