If you were involved in a car accident in Vista, California, you might wonder whether you should call 911. There are several reasons why you should consider calling the police. Below, we explain the legal requirements for reporting car accidents in California and important factors to consider.

What Is California’s Law on Reporting a Car Accident?

There are two important laws in California regarding reporting a motor vehicle accident:  reporting a collision to the DMV and reporting a collision to the police. 

It is necessary to report an accident to the DMV when it results in any of the following:

  • Property damage of $1,000 or more
  • An injury
  • Death 

This report must be made within ten days of the date of the collision, even if the accident occurred on private property. The report is produced by completing Form SR-1. 

For a more immediate response, drivers are required under Vehicle Code 20008 to report any accident involving injury or death to the California Highway Patrol or the police department of the city where the accident took place. This report must be made within 24 hours of the accident. 

This report is unnecessary if a law enforcement officer is dispatched to the accident scene and prepares their own report of the crash. However, even if police complete an accident report, the motorist must still file a report with the DMV as described above. 

If the driver does not report the accident to the police as required by the law, they can receive an infraction and a ticket. 

Often, the best way to begin the process of meeting your reporting requirement is to call 911 at the time of the accident.

Prompt Medical Attention 

Another reason why it is important to call 911 after being involved in a car accident is that you or someone else involved may be injured. Moving the person after an accident may not be safe because they may be more seriously injured. Or, someone may need to be extracted from a vehicle due to crushing metal or leaking combustible oils. 

By calling 911, you can ensure that anyone needing immediate medical assistance can receive it promptly.

Police Investigation of the Car Accident Scene

Once you call 911 to report the accident, police may respond to the scene and begin collecting information to include in an accident report. 

This report might include useful information, such as: 

  • Details about the other driver, their vehicle, and their insurance information 
  • The exact location where the accident occurred
  • Information about the road and weather conditions
  • A diagram of the accident scene
  • An initial determination of fault
  • Any crimes the other driver was charged with, such as drinking and driving
  • Any citation the other driver received 

After the police complete a report, be sure to ask how you can obtain a copy of it. You will need it when filing a claim with the insurance company.

You Will Receive an Official Car Accident Report

Finally, you will want to call 911 so that you can receive a written record showing the car accident happened, just in case the at-fault driver tries to deny it later. Having an objective accident report can help when you file a claim with the insurance company. 

If you were injured in a car accident, call 911 to report the accident, seek immediate medical attention, and then contact a Vista car accident lawyer for help with your claim.

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