After a California car accident, the people involved are required to stop and check the other individual and damage to the vehicles. If one of the drivers does not stop and continues driving without assessing the situation and talking with the other party, they can be charged with fleeing a hit-and-run for fleeing the scene. Even if the accident seems minor, there is a possibility that someone can be hurt.
While minor accidents with little to no damage are not required to be reported to the police, it is still a good idea to have the accident on file in case you discover an injury that resulted from the accident. For example, if another car rear-ends you, but you both stop and see there is no damage, you may decide to part ways without calling the police. If you later find out that you sustained whiplash from the accident you will have to pay for medical treatment and medication for your injury.
Another reason to contact the police after even a minor accident is to document the facts. At-fault drivers often apologize and admit fault at the scene only to later try to shift blame when speaking with the insurance companies. In short, contacting the police after an accident can save you money, time, and frustration.
Does the Law Require Me to Contact the Police after an Accident in California?
There are a few circumstances where the drivers must report the accident to the California Highway Patrol or the local police department where the crash occurred. In any of the cases below, the accident must be reported within 24 hours after the accident:
- The accident caused a bodily injury or death.
- The accident involved a hit-and-run or an intoxicated driver.
- Property damages from the accident seem to exceed $1,000.
In California, the law may require you to file a report with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of the accident. Filing a report with these departments is critical in a personal injury case or where you are looking to recover compensation for the damages you incur due to injuries and property damage. There can be penalties assessed if you neglect to file the proper paperwork following an accident.
Why Should I Call the Police after a Car Accident in California?
Filing a police report puts the accident on file and memorializes that this event happened. Police officers respond to countless accidents and have experience with what to look out for during an accident investigation. A police report can protect your legal rights to compensation and strengthen your claim against an at-fault driver.
Police reports often contain vital information about the accident, including:
- The contact information for all parties, their insurance companies, and any accident witnesses
- Explicit details and accounts of how the accident occurred
- Statements from the drivers and witnesses
- The weather conditions and location of the accident
- The law enforcement officer’s conclusions about the cause of the accident
- If there were any traffic tickets issued
When a police report is not filed, or law enforcement is not called, the party at fault may make many untrue statements. Filing a report with the police can help protect you and your ability to file a claim for injuries or damages you incur.
Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney Today
Our team of dedicated Younglove Law Group lawyers has years of experience advocating for the rights and interests of our clients. With accessible communication and extensive knowledge of California law, our car accident lawyers are proud to offer dependable legal services you can trust. At Younglove Law Group, our primary goal is to provide you with the tools and resources you need for a successful claim process. We want to make sure that you are properly protected and represented in legal conflicts.
Call (949) 691-3660 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.