When an accident causes only minor property damage, filing an accident report for a collision may seem like an unnecessary step, especially when both parties agree to take care of matters without involving their insurance companies. However, in Tennessee, there is really no such thing as a minor car accident. And to make matters worse, if you fail to report an accident you risk a driver's license suspension. If you drive in the Volunteer State, you should get up to speed on Tennessee car accident reporting basics.
How to File a Car Crash Report in Tennessee
This chart provides a summary of Tennessee laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.
|State Accident Statutes
|When to Report an Accident
You must immediately notify the nearest law enforcement agency when:
- Any person is injured or killed
- Property damage exceeds $50
- The accident occurred in a city that requires all accidents reported
- It is required by your insurance company
You have 20 days to file an Owner/Driver Accident Report when:
- Any person is injured or killed
- Property damage exceeds $400
|Crash Reporting Filing
Note: Laws are subject to change so it's important to verify the information you read about by performing your own research or consulting with a Tennessee attorney.
Tennessee Car Accident Reporting Laws
Technically, Tennessee law doesn't require you to report all accidents. However, the state created such a low property damage threshold that virtually all accidents will need some form of reporting.
For example, when an accident occurs on a highway, or on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park, apartment house complex, or any other place frequented by the public -- and $50 or more in property damage results -- it must immediately be reported to local law enforcement. The simplest way to report a crash is to dial 911. The officer who arrives on the scene prepares a crash report.
When to Submit a Personal Accident Report in Tennessee
Tennessee has an additional reporting requirement when the accident results in $400 or more in property damage, or causes death or physical injuries. In these situations, all drivers or owners of vehicles involved in the accident are required to file a report with the Tennessee Department of Safety within 20 days.
It is worth noting that personal identification information submitted in a vehicle accident report is considered confidential by the state and is not available to the general public. The vehicle accident reports are, however, available to the parties listed in the report as being involved.
A report is required regardless of who was at fault and in addition to any report filed by an investigating officer. The purpose of this report is to ensure all drivers were insured according to state law. Failure to file a personal accident report with the Department of Safety can result in the suspension of driver's license and registration or nonresident operating privileges of any person involved in an accident.
How to File an Accident Report in Tennessee
Each driver or vehicle owner involved in an accident must submit the Department's official accident report form. The form only asks for information about the driver, the vehicle owner and the vehicle's insurance. You do not need to provide any information about the other people involved in the accident. A copy of this report will be forwarded to your insurance company. The completed form must be mailed to:
P.O. Box 945
Nashville, TN 37202.
Filing a Car Accident Report? Get Help From a Tennessee Injury Lawyer
Car accidents are serious business, especially if someone was injured or there was significant property damage. Plus, the car insurance company's primary interest is to settle the claim at a reasonable cost. If you believe you're not being fairly compensated for your injuries, it could be in your best interest to speak with an experienced Tennessee auto accident attorney.