Police talking to victims of a car accident in California

Nearly 200,000 car accidents causing injuries and death occur in California every year. If you’re in a serious car accident, you have a legal obligation to report it to the police. You must do this within 24 hours if someone else didn’t already call them to the scene.

Neglecting to do so could result in criminal charges and a significantly weaker personal injury case (if you suffered injuries). In addition to filing a police report within 24 hours, you must notify the California DMV within ten days of a collision and your insurance company within the time limits of your policy. 

Reporting a car accident to appropriate parties (i.e., police, insurance, DMV) is not only necessary for record-keeping. It’s also a step that helps verify and strengthen potential personal injury claims. 

If you’ve suffered injuries or damages in a car accident and have questions about reporting it to the police, contact a car accident lawyer at Steinberg Injury Lawyers as soon as possible. Continue reading to learn more about reporting car collisions to law enforcement in California below. 

When You Need to Call The Police After an Accident 

According to California car accident laws, drivers involved in collisions that cause injuries or death must call appropriate law enforcement agencies to the scene and file a police report within 24 hours.

Accidents that cause property damage or physical injuries exceeding $1,000 must notify the DMV within ten days. You are not required to report minor accidents that don’t result in immediate injuries; however, it’s still a good idea to report the accident. You may not notice certain injuries (i.e., whiplash, back problems, etc.) until days, weeks, or months after the accident. 

However, if you don’t file a report, it will be difficult (if not impossible) for your car accident lawyer to recoup personal injury damages. 

Tips For Reporting Car Accidents to The Police

Most car accident lawyers recommend promptly filing a police report after any collision regardless of the severity. That's for two reasons: to protect yourself against criminal liability and to prepare yourself for a personal injury claim if necessary. 

If you’re worried about filing a police report, don’t be. Here are a few tips to help: 

  1. Never admit fault when talking to the police or filing a report
  2. Stick to the fact of the case
  3. Obtain a copy of the police report as soon as possible 
  4. Get the name and badge number of the responding police officer
  5. Contact a car accident lawyer as quickly as possible 

Contact an LA Car Accident Lawyer Today

Suppose you get into a car accident and neglect to file a police report. In that case, you most likely will not be able to recover compensation for property damage or injuries. You may lose your right to drive, face fines, and potentially jail time. 

If you’ve suffered severe injuries in a car accident, contact Steinberg Injury Lawyers today for your free case evaluation with a proven car accident lawyer in Los Angeles. We’ve recovered hundreds of millions in personal injury cases and are confident that we can obtain the best possible outcome in your case. 

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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