Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer: Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in California?
If you get into a car accident in California, are you required by law to contact the police and report it? You may be surprised that you don’t always have to call the police. In fact, you only need to call the police if someone has suffered an injury or there is more than $1,000 in property damage. That said, just because you’re not required to call them doesn’t mean you shouldn’t call the police. Read on to learn why it’s appropriate to report your accident and then call Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.
There are three situations in which you must call the police
There are three situations in which you must call the police and report a car accident.
- There was an injury
- There was a death.
- There was damage exceeding $1,000.
If you’re involved in any type of accident listed above then you must report the accident via an SR-1 form within ten days of the accident. The information that you must include on this form includes:
- Names, insurance info, and addresses for all parties.
- Explanation and description of the accident, its injuries, and any property damage.
- The day, time, and location of the crash.
If you’re not 100% sure if you should report or not, we’d recommend erring on the side of caution and submitting an SR-1.
There could be significant penalties for not reported an accident
If you’re involved in an accident that has to be reported and you don’t do so within ten days then you could have your license suspended and end up paying large fines. Additionally, if you suffered an injury during the accident, then you could be prevented from getting the benefits you would otherwise have been eligible for from your insurance company. It could also prevent you from making a personal injury claim to recover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
Should you report it even if you’re not required to? Maybe
Even though you may not be legally responsible for reporting a certain accident, you may find it worth your while. For example, you may feel fine today but realize weeks in the future that you’ve suffered from a spinal cord injury that went untreated. In the event there’s a future investigation for any reason, the police report will be handy. Finally, if you believe that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol then you can report the accident and the fact that they were likely driving under the influence.
If you’ve been involved in an accident then we do encourage you to report it to the police – and we further encourage you to contact a personal injury attorney to find out if you have a case. You can easily reach Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707. We’ll start off with a free legal consultation so you’ll know what your options are.