How Do I Report an Accident to the Police in CA?
You can report a traffic accident to the police by flagging down a patrol car at the scene of the accident, calling 9-1-1, or filing form SR-1 with the DMV.
You probably learned in driver’s ed class that, whenever there is a car accident, you should flag down a police officer and have them fill out a police report. Of course, if you have been driving for a few years, you have probably gotten into a minor accident where you simply exchanged insurance information with the other driver, and you both agreed that it was not necessary to notify the police. California law requires you to report all motor vehicle collisions that occur on public roads and streets or on private property to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Even though the deadline for filing a report is short, you should take the contents of the report seriously because it could affect the insurance settlement you receive after the accident; it could even affect your chances of winning a car accident lawsuit. For the best possible outcome, contact the Murrieta car accident lawyers at Gibbs & Fuerst LLP as soon as possible after the accident.
Why it is Important to File a Police Report
The first reason that it is important to notify the authorities after a car accident is that the law requires it. You must notify your local DMV of every accident within ten days of the accident’s occurrence. The fastest way to do this is to notify a law enforcement officer of the accident as soon as it takes place. As soon as the accident happens, pull your car off the road if it is operational; if not, then walk to the side of the road. Then flag down a police car, sheriff’s department vehicle, or California Highway Patrol car and tell the officer how the accident happened. If anyone is injured, the officer will call for medical assistance. You can also call 9-1-1, and the dispatcher will send a police officer and an ambulance to the scene.
Another reason to file a police report as soon as the accident happens is that it puts you in a stronger position with regard to insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Instead of letting insurance claims adjusters talk you into contradicting yourself, just tell them to read the police report and look at the officer’s pictures.
When in Doubt, Have a CA Car Accident Lawyer Help You Fill Out Form SR-1
Even if you do not notify an officer as soon as the accident happens, you must still file form SR-1, the Report of Traffic Accident form, with your local DMV. Since this is an official record containing the details of the accident, it is best to contact a lawyer about what to say and what not to say in your description of the accident. This is just one reason that it is never too soon to contact a lawyer after a traffic accident.
Contact a Murrieta Car Accident Lawyer
A car accident lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that can jeopardize your insurance settlement or even your right to file a car accident lawsuit. Contact Gibbs & Fuerst LLP in Murrieta, California, to set up a consultation about your car accident case.