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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Car accidents > What to do after an accident

Reporting the accident to the police 

In some cases, you must legally report a car accident to the police.

    When must you report the accident to police?

    You must report a car accident to police when:

    • ​a person was killed or injured​
    • a driver did not stop and give their details to the other driver or drivers, or
    • a vehicle was towed away after the accident.

    You can report the accident to the police by:

    • calling 000 while you are still at the scene of the accident
    • going to a police station
    • calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

    You must report as soon as possible, and within 24 hours (unless there are exceptional circumstances). It is an offence if you do not.

    AlertIf someone is killed or injured as a result of the accident, you should get legal advice​ before making a statement to the police.

    Handy HintWhen you report the accident to the police, you will be given an Event Number (beginning with the letter E). Write this down – you may need it later on if you decide to request a copy of the police report.

    When will the police attend the scene?

    Police will not always attend the scene of an accident. They have guidelines about when they will and will not attend. The police are likely to attend the scene of an accident where:

    • someone is trapped, killed or injured
    • drivers have not exchanged details
    • a driver appears to be affected by drugs or alcohol
    • police need to direct traffic or deal with hazards, or
    • a bus or truck needs to be towed.

    In these cases, you may call 000 so that the police can attend the scene.

    AlertIf someone is killed or injured as a result of the accident, you should get legal advice before contacting the police.

    If only a car needs to be towed away (and no-one is injured or affected by drugs or alcohol), the police do not need to attend the scene. You must exchange details with the other driver and report the crash. You can report the accident after you have left the scene by calling the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. For more information on when and how to call the police, go to the Road Safety section of the NSW Police Force website.​