Over 300 people lost their lives in traffic accidents in Los Angeles in 2022, and many more are injured every year on the city’s roads. While these accidents happen in various parts of the city under a wide variety of circumstances, one common feature among many of these collisions is that they result in an accident report being filed.
In many cases, California law requires you or your insurer to report a car accident even if law enforcement does not respond to the crash scene. But even in cases where an accident report is not legally required, it may be a good idea to complete and submit a report regardless. Here is what you need to know about car accident reports in Los Angeles.
When Are Accident Reports Required in California?
If you are involved in a motor vehicle crash anywhere in California, and someone is hurt or killed, it’s important to contact law enforcement. Police or the California Highway Patrol will respond and make an accident report that contains vital details about the crash, where it occurred, and who was involved.
If you hit an unattended vehicle or another’s property, you should report the crash to local law enforcement if you cannot find the property’s owner. Similarly, animal strikes should be reported to local police, the California Highway Patrol, or a humane society.
Filing a Report With the California Department of Motor Vehicles
You must also report certain accidents to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), regardless of whether law enforcement responds to the scene to make a report.
California law requires you to file an SR-1: Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California to the DMV within ten days of an accident that:
- Resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage
- Caused serious harm requiring hospitalization to any person
- Involved any other injury to any person, no matter how small the injury
- Caused the death of any person
The SR-1 report can be filed by you, your attorney, or your insurance agent. You and every other involved driver must file an accident report, even if you were not at-fault for the crash.
Why You Should File an Accident Report Even If Not Legally Required
Preparing and submitting an accident report to the DMV may seem like a hassle that is best avoided if possible. However, there are benefits to submitting a report, even if one is not legally required.
These benefits include:
- You preserve crucial details about the crash’s location and circumstances
- Responsible parties are identified if you need to seek compensation through a claim
- You can note whether any person suffered any sort of injury
- You can record property damage that occurred to your vehicle or to another’s property and the extent of that damage
Filing a DMV report can therefore help you guard against a driver or passenger who later claims compensation from your insurance company based on the crash. By preserving these key details about the crash, your attorney can better respond if a fraudulent claim is filed.
Do Not Be Intimidated By Car Accident Reports
California’s SR-1 form can be easily completed and submitted within the statutory timeframe. Having your Los Angeles car accident attorney complete the form for you can ensure the form is completed correctly and within any relevant deadlines. Filing an accident report after a crash is not only required in certain cases, but it can also protect you against future potential issues.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Los Angeles, CA
If you were injured in an accident in Los Angeles, CA or you lost a loved one and you need legal assistance, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers at M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers will get in touch with you soon.