When to Report a Car Accident in California

It is important to report car accidents so you claim full damages, and so you avoid harsh criminal penalties.

After a car accident caused by another driver, you can file a claim with their insurance company to collect damages. You may even be able to file a claim directly against the driver. To protect any future claim you may file, it is important to report the accident to the police and to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Not only will doing this provide the evidence you will need when filing a claim, but it will also help you avoid the penalties associated with failing to report a crash.

When to Report a Car Accident in California

Under California law, you must report any accident to the police if it results in injury, death, or property damage valued at $1,000 or more. The law also requires you to report the accident to the DMV if it meets the above requirements. You must report an accident to the police within 24 hours, while you have 10 days to report the crash to the DMV.

However, you should report any accident to the police as soon as possible, preferably while you are still on the scene. By calling police out to the crash site, both parties can tell their side of the story and an accident report will be filed. A police officer may even indicate negligence within that report, which can help your claim if they indicate the other driver was at fault.

In addition to the above guidelines, you have only two years to file a personal injury claim to obtain compensation for your injuries. This is known as the statute of limitations. If you allow this time limit to expire, you will forfeit your legal right to claim any compensation at all.

What Happens if You Do Not Report an Accident?

Failing to report an accident will have a number of different consequences. In the best of situations, you will likely be unable to recover damages, or financial compensation, to cover your injuries and property damage. In the worst of cases, you may have to pay a high fine, lose your driver’s license, and even have to serve jail time. The consequences associated with failing to report a crash are simply not worth it. You should always file a formal report with local law enforcement, and with the DMV, as soon as possible after any crash.

Call Our Car Accident Lawyer in Temecula After a Crash

There are many people you should call after an accident, including local law enforcement and the DMV. You should also speak to a Temecula car accident lawyer as soon as possible. At Gibbs & Fuerst, LLP, our attorneys are dedicated to helping accident victims claim the full financial compensation they are entitled to, and we want to help you, too. Call us today at 951-291-9814 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys and to learn more about your legal options.