Getting into a motor vehicle accident can be very stressful. Knowing what to do after an accident may relieve some stress about the whole ordeal.

Make sure you comply with all legal requirements by being aware of the rules governing your duties, such as reporting the collision to the police. You might want to engage with a vehicle accident attorney after the incident if you need assistance understanding your legal obligations due to the crash.

Do I Have To Report a Car Accident in California? 

You are required by law to report every automobile accident that results in injuries or fatalities to the California Highway Patrol or the local police force in the city where the collision occurred. You must file a report within 24 hours following the crash.

The police will go to the accident scene if there are any injuries or fatalities or if it appears to be a hit-and-run, assuming you notify them right away. They’ll carry out an inquiry and compile a police report. You won’t be required to submit any written report in this case.

When You Must Report a Crash To the California DMV

In many situations, you must report the crash. Any driver involved in an accident in California needs to report the crash to the California DMV within ten days if:

  • Anyone was injured in the accident
  • Anyone was killed in the accident
  • The crash resulted in property damage of more than $1,000

On the contrary, no law requires you to report an incident to an auto insurer, but every automobile insurance contract requires it. 

How Do You Get a Police Report After a Car Accident in California?

In California, you have various options for getting a police report following an accident. What you need to know is as follows:

Call the Police To the Scene of Your Accident 

Calling 911 immediately after your accident is the best way to alert the authorities of the collision and will ensure that a police report is promptly created. The police will arrive at the scene and question those involved, providing the basis for the report.

 It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a copy of the report at the scene, but an officer may be able to provide you with a reference number so that you can retrieve it once completed.

Request a Copy from the Police

Call your local law enforcement agency, and they will locate the report for you. In order for them to locate the appropriate paperwork, be prepared with your accident reference number and the time, date, and place of the accident. 

Remember that if you misplace your police record, many Californian communities may charge you a modest fee. For instance, if you reside in San Diego, obtaining a copy of your police report would cost you $12.

Ask Your Insurance Company

It’s conceivable that the police report was obtained on your behalf by your insurance provider. Make a call to them to inquire. 

Why Is a Police Report Crucial in a Personal Injury Case?

When the at-fault party’s insurance company learns of the collision, it will immediately seek a copy of the incident report. Insurance adjusters must examine this document to understand what transpired and determine who was at fault.

If the police record shows that your car suffered significant damage in the collision, getting compensation for property damage could be simpler. 

However, insurance companies may dispute the findings after completing their inquiry. For instance, the police could have determined that you weren’t at fault for the collision, but the insurance provider might think otherwise.

Having a police report that outlines the other party’s liability will help your case, even if the insurance disagrees with the report’s findings.

Contact the North County Car Accident Lawyers at Petrov Law Firm for Help Today

For more information, please contact the Vista car accident law firm of Petrov Law Firm to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in North County, CA and its surrounding areas:

Petrov Law Firm
380 S Melrose Dr Ste. 201
Vista, CA 92081
(760) 813-3313