How to Report a Car Accident
in California

Information on reporting a California car accident.
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Reporting a Car Accident in California

California law requires the reporting of all car accidents on streets and highways that result in bodily injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000. If you have been involved in a car accident, you are legally obligated to obtain, complete, and submit Form SR-1 to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you do not submit Form SR-1 within 10 days of your accident, you can be required to pay monetary fines and may be prohibited from recovering the compensation you need.

You can get an online Form SR-1 from the California DMV by clicking here.

Contacting an experienced personal injury attorney immediately after an accident will help to ensure that you get the money you deserve. Call Citywide Law Group for a free consultation.

What is Form SR-1?

Form SR-1 is an official document provided by the California DMV. State law (California Vehicle Code §16000) requires that anyone involved in an accident complete and submit the form within 10 days of an accident that results in:

  • Property damage exceeding $1,000
  • Personal injury, however slight, and/or
  • Death.

You can submit the form on your own, or you can direct your insurance company or attorney to submit the form on your behalf.

Reporting Off-Highway Accidents

Vehicle Code 16000 requires the reporting of all qualifying accidents that occur on streets and highways. The Code also requires you to disclose any “reportable off-highway accidents.” Reportable off-highway accidents must satisfy all of the following:

  1. Accident occurs off of a street or highway,
  2. The accident involves a vehicle that is required to be registered with the state, and
  3. The accident results in property damage exceeding $1,000, bodily injury, or death.

Required Information for Form SR-1

Form SR-1 helps to encourage transparency and full disclosure of relevant information after a car accident in California. You will be required to provide information about the accident as well as certain information for everyone involved.

General Accident Information

When completing Form SR-1 you must provide the following information:

  • Time when the accident took place
  • Date of the accident, and
  • Specific location, including the city and county.

Drivers’ Personal Information

Personal information for each of the drivers involved in the accident must be submitted on Form SR-1. Required information includes:

  • Driver’s full name and address
  • Date of birth
  • Driver’s license number
  • Vehicle information (make, model, license plate number or VIN)

Insurance Information

All drivers in California are required to carry minimally-acceptable insurance coverage on all registered vehicles. Information about insurance coverage for all cars involved in the accident must be provided on Form SR-1. This includes:

  • Name of insurance company
  • Insurance policy number
  • Insurance policy period, and
  • Name of policy holder.

You must also indicate whether each policy was in effect at the time of the accident.

List of Property Damages, Injuries, and Fatalities

Form SR-1 requires drivers to submit details about all property damage, personal injuries, and deaths that are related the accident. This includes all drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians who are affected by the crash. The following information must be provided for all injured parties:

  • Name and address of victim
  • Type of harm (injury, death, property damage)
  • Description and value of property damage, and
  • Connection to accident (driver, passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian).

Consequences of Not Completing Form SR-1

License Suspension

What happens if you do not complete and submit Form SR-1 to the DMV within 10 days of an accident? California Vehicle Code §16004 permits the state to suspend your driver’s license and take other necessary administrative actions concerning your driving privileges.

Inability to Recover Insurance Benefits

In order to obtain information about another driver’s insurance company, and subsequently file a claim for damages, you must submit Form SR-19C. Before Form SR-19C can be submitted, you must successfully complete and file Form SR-1 with the DMV. Failing to file Form SR-1 within 10 days of your accident can bar you from getting the money you need from the at-fault party’s insurance company.

Where Can I Get Form SR-1?

Form SR-1 can be found at your nearest California DMV location or on the official California DMV website.

Click here to download Form SR-1.

Click here to download Form SR-19C.

Experienced California Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been involved in a car accident in California that has caused an injury or significant property damage, you are required by law to report the crash. It is important to make sure that all applicable documents, including Form SR-1, are completed in full and submitted on time. Form SR-1 is an official legal document, and any information you submit is done so under oath. You must make sure that the document is completed to the best of your knowledge to avoid serious legal repercussions.

An attorney can help you navigate any of the legal issues you face after a California car accident. Contact Citywide Law Group today to request a free consultation with our experienced car accident attorneys. We will review your case, explain your legal rights and obligations, and answer the questions you have.