If you are involved in a car accident in California, you may be wondering if you are required to notify the police of the crash. Although the answer depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding the collision, it is wise to contact law enforcement officials to the scene to obtain crucial evidence for your claim and protect your rights to obtain financial compensation.
Reporting a Car Accident to the Police
According to California traffic law, if a car accident resulted in injuries or death of any person (e.g., driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist, bicyclist, etc.), then the driver of any vehicle involved in the crash must report the accident to the police or the California Highway Patrol (CHP). Remember, if an officer arrives at the scene of the collision, he/she will prepare a written accident report on behalf of the law enforcement agency, so you do not have to file your own separate written report.
Reporting a Crash to the DMV
On the other hand, if an accident involves an injury, death, or property damage worth more than $1,000, you must report the crash to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten (10) days of the date of the accident. You can download the traffic accident report (SR 1) from the DMV website.
Reporting a Collision to Your Insurance Company
In every policy, there is a provision that states policyholders must report a crash to the insurer immediately. The sooner your insurance carrier is aware of the accident, the faster it can try to defend the claim. Failure to report an accident in a timely manner can result in the denial of your coverage.
The Importance of a Police Report
It is wise to contact the police in the event of a car accident. Since a written report is prepared by a trusted and unbiased third party, this document is one of the most important pieces of evidence in a car accident claim or personal injury lawsuit. The police report contains essential information, such as the contact information of all drivers and their insurers, the statements from drivers and witnesses, details of how the accident occurred, any traffic tickets issued, and the officer’s conclusions as to who was at fault for the collision.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Sacramento, call Eliot Reiner, APLC at (916) 778-3228 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. We have recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients!