Do you always have to report a car accident in Los Angeles? While state law is clear that there are only certain circumstances under which an accident must be reported, real life is not always so black and white. In fact, it can still make sense and be in your best interest to report a crash even if you are not legally required to do so. Our Los Angeles car accident attorneys break down when you have to legally report an accident and why it makes sense to call it in, anyway.
Reporting a Los Angeles Car Accident
There are certain times when you will be legally required to report a car accident in Los Angeles. In fact, there are three specific situations that will trigger this responsibility. California law requires an accident to be reported if:
- The crash causes property damage exceeding $1,000
- The crash causes someone to suffer a bodily injury, and/or
- Someone is killed as a result of the crash.
How Do I Report An Accident in Los Angeles?
What exactly does it mean to report an accident? Do you simply call the police and tell them a crash has happened? Can you rely on someone else to report the crash, or does everyone involved have the same responsibility to notify authorities? Calling police is always a good idea after an accident. However, the way to satisfy your legal obligation to report an accident is by filing a specific form with the local police.
Do not rely on another party to file the form. You need to make sure that you make sure that the form is completed and submitted within 10 days of your accident. You can do this yourself or have your attorney or insurance company file it on your behalf. the completion and submit the form
The form you’re legally required to file after an accident is known as Form SR-1. This form will ask you to provide certain information about the accident, damage, and parties involved. Information that will need to be included on Form SR-1 includes:
- The time, date, and location of the accident
- The names, addresses, and contact information for each involved driver
- Insurance and vehicle information for each involved driver
- A list and explanation of all property damage, including that to vehicles and other property, and
- A list and explanation of all injuries and deaths.
It is important to make sure that this form is completed with the best possible information. It will be the basis for any insurance claims that are pursued after your accident. If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit, your attorney may also rely on this document during an independent investigation.
What Happens If I Don’t Report My Accident?
If you have a legal obligation to report your accident, but fail to do so, you can face some serious consequences. These can include significant fines and the loss of your driving privileges. Without your license, you may find that it is difficult to take care of your day-to-day responsibilities.
If you’ve suffered a financial loss or injury in your accident, failure to file this form can also prevent you from recovering the compensation you deserve from an insurance company. Again, Form SR-1 is the baseline for all future insurance claims and recoveries.
Why Should I Report An Accident Regardless of Damage or Injury?
California law only requires you to report an accident if it causes significant property damage, injury, or death. However, failing to report an accident can have some serious consequences, even if you weren’t required to do so, by law.
It is always a good idea to report a Los Angeles car accident. Here’s why:
You Can Keep Others Safe
You may not know why your accident happened in the first place. For all you know, the other driver could be driving without a license or operating the car under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If this is the case, they could pose a threat to others on the road. Your accident may not be particularly serious, but that doesn’t mean a bad accident may not happen down the road. Calling police and filing a report will help to punish dangerous drivers for their actions and keep yourself and others safe from harm they may cause.
You Can Protect Future Legal Claims
Imagine that you’re on the fence about reporting your accident. The other driver convinces you to accept $500 to take care of some cosmetic damage to your car in exchange for keeping the crash between the two of you. You accept the money because you don’t think you’ve been injured. A few days later, you learn that you suffered some fairly serious internal injuries in your accident and will need to spend a few thousand dollars for medical care. Since you didn’t report the accident, there is no record of it happening. To make matters worse, there is also no record of who was involved. Reporting your accident can help to preserve valuable information and evidence pertinent to your case.
Los Angeles Car Accident Attorneys
Have you been injured in a Los Angeles traffic accident? Do you need help understanding your legal rights and obligations following the crash? Contact Citywide Law Group for help. Our accident attorneys are prepared to help you protect yourself and get the money you deserve for your injuries. Call to learn more and schedule your free consultation.