Category: Car Accident

If you are involved in a Los Angeles car accident, you may wonder if you have a legal obligation to report the crash to police? The answer may surprise you. Unless you or another person has suffered a bodily injury or sustained significant property damage, you generally do not have a duty to report an accident. However, just because you are not legally required to call police, it may be in your best interest to report your accident.

When Am I Required to Report a Los Angeles Car Accident?

In California, there are three situations when you will be required to report a car accident.

  • Accidents causing an injury
  • Accidents causing death, and
  • Accidents causing property damage in excess of $1,000.

Drivers involved in any one of these types of collisions must report the accident on form SR-1 within 10 days of the crash. [California Vehicle Code 16000]

Form SR-1

Form SR-1 helps to document details and information that are pertinent to an accident. Information that must be included on Form SR-1 includes:

  1. The names, addresses, and insurance information for all involved parties
  2. The date, time, and location of the accident, and
  3. An explanation and description of all injuries and property damage.

What Happens If I’m Required to Report an Accident But Don’t?

If you are required to report an accident, but fail to do so within 10 days, you can face some consequences. The state has the right to suspend your driver’s license and/or impose a fine.

You may also be prohibited from recovering benefits from an insurance company if you fail to report an accident. This can prevent you from getting the money you need to pay for medical bills, make up for lost wages, and compensate for the stress and anxiety triggered by the crash.

Why Should I Report An Accident?

You are not legally required to report an accident that only results in minor property damage. However, choosing to report the accident voluntarily can be beneficial.

Here’s why:

You’re not sure of the extent of your injuries.

Some car accident injuries may not be apparent right away. Internal injuries can fester and become worse over time. Reporting an accident will help to establish a link between the crash and your injuries. If you do not report the accident, it can be more difficult to recover damages for injuries that manifest in the future.

Police reports are helpful to future investigations.

In California, police reports are typically not admissible as evidence in court. However, the information contained in these reports can be incredibly beneficial to an investigation. When you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney can use the police report to become familiar with the details of your case. The report may also contain details that, if they had not been written down, would likely have been forgotten over time. You may not remember what the traffic and weather were like at the time of your accident a year ago, but an officer’s police report may reflect these important details.

You suspect the other driver is intoxicated.

Drunk driving accidents are not always severe. However, if you believe that the other driver involved in your accident is under the influence, it can be beneficial to report the crash. Why? First, it helps to keep the roads safe. If the other driver is drunk or under the influence of drugs, you are helping to protect other people on the road. Second, it can be easier to recover damages when the other driver is convicted of a crime or cited for a traffic violation.

Involved in a Los Angeles Car Accident? Call an Attorney For Help

While you may not have to report your accident to police, it is always wise to speak with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorney after a crash. At Glotzer & Leib, LLP, our experienced attorneys will thoroughly review the details of your accident and help you understand your legal options. We can help you report your accident to police and initial a personal injury claim so that you can get the money you deserve. Want to learn more? Call today to schedule a free consultation.