You’ve been in a car accident, but your car doesn’t have much damage, and you feel physically fine. You may be wondering whether you should call the cops after a fender bender. The short answer is yes: you have nothing to lose, and it could help you in the long run.

California Law and Car Accident Reporting Requirements

California drivers are required by law to stop after an accident. The driver needs to see if anyone was injured, get medical attention if necessary, and exchange information with the other driver. 

If an accident results in serious injury or death, the drivers involved or their representatives must report it to the police immediately. In these situations, the police will often respond to the scene and prepare a formal police report.  

California law also states that those who have been in a car accident need to report it to the Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days if the accident caused: 

  • Injury or death
  • Property damage over $1,000

Even in cases where there isn’t a state requirement to call the police after an accident, it’s a good idea to do so to ensure that you’re meeting your legal obligations. 

Why It Could Help You to Call the Police After a Fender Bender

Even though the accident might not appear to be a big deal, calling the cops after a fender bender is wise. 

The police will file an official police report that will include all of the important details from the accident, such as:

  • Witness statements
  • The insurance information for the parties involved in the accident
  • Any physical damage that can be seen
  • Details on how the accident happened and who may be at fault

When something isn’t documented, it can be hard to prove how it happened later on. 

A police report will come in handy if you submit a claim to an insurance company, as they won’t have to rely on your word or the other driver’s account of what happened. They’ll have a third-party account based on the enforcement officer’s investigation of the accident scene. 

An experienced Vista personal injury lawyer can help you with an insurance claim.

The Accident Might Have Caused Damage That Wasn’t Immediately Obvious

You might walk away from a fender bender feeling fine but, days or weeks later, experience pain or discomfort from the accident. Whiplash, concussions, and strains can take time to emerge. Your car may also have sustained some damage that wasn’t immediately apparent at the time of the accident. 

The police report will serve as evidence should you decide to file a personal injury claim. It will also be helpful if the other driver claims to be injured or have property damage. You want to cover your bases. The police report provides that coverage.

See a Doctor After Your Fender Bender Just to Make Sure

Even if you feel fine after a fender bender, getting checked out by a doctor is not a bad idea just to be safe. A doctor will be able to properly assess the situation and tell you what things to look out for in the days and weeks after the accident. 

Along with a police report, a doctor’s visit will be extremely helpful if you pursue an injury claim due to the accident. Most insurance companies will ask for documentation that you sought medical treatment within a reasonable time after the accident. 

Ask a Vista Car Accident Lawyer About Your Fender Bender and How To Seek Compensation 

If you have questions about a fender bender, don’t leave anything to chance. Get ahead of any potential legal or medical issues and consult a car accident attorney as soon as possible. 

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