Yes. If you're involved in a car wreck, you have specific duties to report the crash under California law. In addition, our San Diego car accident attorney mentions that notifying law enforcement about the collision is important if the other driver caused it, and you must file a claim with their insurance company.
Your Duty to Notify the Police of a San Diego Auto Crash
By law, you have a responsibility to submit a written report of a car accident resulting in injuries or death to the California Highway Patrol or to the police department in the city where the crash happened. You must do this within 24 hours of the collision.
If you call the police immediately, they will come to the accident scene if it involves injury, death, or is a hit-and-run. They'll conduct an investigation and write a police report. In this instance, you won't need to file your own written report.
When You Must Report a Crash to the California DMV
Unlike other states, you would also have a duty to report most car accidents to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You are required to notify the DMV within 10 days of the collision in these situations:
- Anyone involved in the accident suffered any injuries, even if they were minor.
- Someone was killed in the crash.
- The collision caused property damage to a vehicle or other personal property of more than $1,000.
Why You Should Always Call the Police at the Scene of Your Collision
Even if you don't believe that you were injured or that your vehicle suffered much damage, you should call the police at the accident scene. You could have suffered serious injuries but not realize it yet. The symptoms of some medical conditions—such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord and back injuries, and internal organ damage—may not develop until days or longer after the crash. In addition, the damage to your property could cost more to repair than you might think.
Protect your legal rights and strengthen your claim against at-fault driver by calling the police right away and obtaining a copy of the police report. It contains essential information for your claim, such as:
- Contact information for all drivers, their insurance companies, and witnesses to the crash
- Details of how the accident happened
- Statements of drivers and witnesses
- Police officer’s conclusions as to who caused the crash
- Any traffic tickets issued