Car accidents can be a hassle for a number of reasons. The potential harm to the driver and passengers of each vehicle is obviously the biggest concern, but the harm to the vehicles, and the ensuing insurance dealings are also a pain. To top it all off, a lot of times accidents occur in the middle of the road, and you have to worry about getting the cars out of the way of traffic.

All these other things to worry about can sometimes hide the fact that most accidents need to be reported to the police. Drivers are legally required to report all accidents that result in injury or notable damage to personal property. Even if none of these things occur, it’s a good idea to report an accident, in case injuries show up later, or the owner of the vehicle you collided with does not comply with your insurance agreement, or files false claims against you.

Because of this, you should always consider reporting a car accident. However, there is a limit to how long you can wait after the accident occurs before reporting it. That limit changes from state to state, so be sure to look at this list and familiarize yourself with the deadline for reporting an accident in your state.

The time you have to report an accident in each state

  • Alabama: 30 days
  • Alaska: 10 days
  • Arizona: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Arkansas: 90 days
  • California: 10 days
  • Colorado: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Connecticut: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Delaware: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Florida: 10 days
  • Georgia: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Hawaii: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Idaho: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Illinois: 10 days
  • Indiana: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Iowa: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Kansas: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Kentucky: 10 days
  • Louisiana: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Maine: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Maryland: 15 days
  • Massachusetts: Five days
  • Michigan: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Minnesota: 10 days
  • Mississippi: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Missouri: 30 days
  • Montana: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Nebraska: 10 days
  • Nevada: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • New Hampshire: 15 days
  • New Jersey: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • New Mexico: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • New York: Five days
  • North Carolina: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • North Dakota: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Ohio: Six months
  • Oklahoma: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Oregon: Three days
  • Pennsylvania: Five days
  • Rhode Island: 21 days
  • South Carolina: 15 days
  • South Dakota: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Tennessee: 20 days
  • Texas: 10 days
  • Utah: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Vermont: Five days
  • Virginia: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Washington: Four days
  • West Virginia: Five days
  • Wisconsin: Accident must be immediately reported over the phone
  • Wyoming: 10 days

For states that require immediate reports, you should use your cell phone if you have one, or a pay phone if you can get to one. If for whatever reason you are unable to report the accident when it occurs, contact the police department or Department of Motor Vehicles at your soonest convenience.

Reporting an accident is a very important thing, so make sure that you do it anytime there is injury or property damage, and consider doing it anytime you’re involved in an accident. As long as you follow these deadlines, the reporting process will be smooth and easy.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Much Time Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in Each State? and was authored by Brady Klopfer.


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