by Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
Winter weather is often a contributing factor in many motor vehicle crashes. Although some accidents are serious, many are of a minor nature. People frequently ask when they are required to file an accident report.
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 90 Section 26 contains the guidelines for the reporting of accidents. It requires an accident report to be filed within five days, with both the Registry and the police department having jurisdiction over the area, if it involves one or more of the following events: 1) Any person is killed or injured or 2) There is damage in excess of one thousand dollars to any one vehicle or other property. With the current cost of vehicle and property damage repairs, it is not particularly difficult to reach the thousand dollar threshold. Penalties for not reporting an accident can include a fine and/or suspension of your license.
My advice is to report all accidents to the police department having jurisdiction over that particular area. Log entries or other reports can be made at minimum in order to record the event properly. In addition, appropriate medical attention can be summoned if it is necessary. These situations can lead to future problems which can include injuries, excessive property damage claims, law suits, and more. Take the few moments to record the events and gather as much information as possible in order to protect yourself and others.