How Long Do You Have to Report a Car Accident in California?

Are You Required To Report A Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident, no matter how minor the accident, you should contact your insurance company to let them know what happened. Why, because you don’t know what the other driver or pedestrian is going to say. They can claim that it was a hit-and-run, and if that happens, you will be in more trouble than if you had reported it. You should always report the accident regardless of fault. When you report an accident, it allows the insurance company time to investigate, and it minimizes the chance that someone will later claim their unrelated injuries were your fault.

Besides, accident injuries and vehicle damage aren’t always noticeable. Sometimes broken, bent, or damaged parts may go unnoticed for weeks and could cause another accident. It can also be days or weeks before you develop pain and suffered injuries in the accident. If you had an accident, contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer for advice.

How Long Should You Wait To Report An Accident?

There is no minimum time to wait before reporting an accident, but there is a maximum. You can immediately report an accident after it happens, but you shouldn’t wait more than 24 hours if possible. If you wait too long to report an accident, the insurance company, the police, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles will wonder why you didn’t tell them sooner. Reporting the accident at a later date can work against you, especially if the accident involves someone else. Remember, an honest person has nothing to hide.

Insurance companies generally have a 24-hour hotline or online access to report accidents. Unless you are severely injured and unable to notify your insurance company, there is generally no excuse to wait for more than 24 hours. In California, you must contact the police within 24 hours if someone suffers a personal injury or dies due to the accident. If you don’t contact the police, even for minor car accidents, you may be taking a chance that the other people involved in the accident will make false claims about the accident.

The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires that you report the accident within ten days if someone is injured or killed or if accident damage exceeds $1,000. If you decide to file a personal injury or property damage claim, the sooner you contact the police and your insurance company, the sooner they can document the accident details and file their reports.

Seeking Medical Care

If you were injured, no matter how slight, you should go to the doctor. It’s best to have your pain and injuries checked as soon as possible and then get follow-up care. Pain is a sign of physical damage that requires medical attention. If you don’t seek timely medical care, your injuries may become worse. Plus, if your injuries are undocumented, you have no proof that the accident caused them.

Talking With The Insurance Company Adjuster

Following an injury, you may receive a phone call from the other driver’s insurance company. They will ask permission to record your statement claiming they want to remember everything you tell them. Never give your approval for a recorded conversation. They will use your words against you. They will try to prove you were responsible for the accident or claim that your injuries do not justify making a settlement offer.

Some insurance adjusters may offer to settle your claim for far less than it is worth based on something you said during the recorded statement. Instead, If you are injured, talk with the Best Car Accident Lawyer Los Angeles you can find, one who can give you sound legal advice.

The Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations is a time limit set by each state to file a lawsuit for damages, which starts on the accident date. In California, you have two years after the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit. In case of death, the clock starts on the day the injured person dies. For property damage claims, you have three years after the accident date to file a lawsuit. Suppose a government employee caused your injuries while on the job; in that case, the rules are more complicated, and you will probably need legal advice. If you need legal help, you can contact a car accident attorney Los Angeles for advice.

Seeking Damages In A Car Accident Lawsuit

A key reason for reporting a car accident earlier rather than later is to verify the accident events. For instance, if you wait a week before notifying the insurance company, they will question why you waited and whether your version of the accident is accurate. After a week, it is more challenging to verify accident events and legal responsibility for the accident. The same holds for waiting to see a doctor if you are injured. If you are in pain and wait for a month to see a doctor, the insurance company will question whether your injuries resulted from the accident or if you were injured after the accident.

Suppose your personal injury lawyer cannot show a direct cause and effect relationship between the car accident and your injuries. How can you expect the insurance company to accept responsibility for those injuries?

Are You Thinking About Calling An Auto Accident Attorney Los Angeles California?

M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers is just a phone call away. We offer free consultations, have an established record of fighting for our client’s rights, and negotiate with insurance companies to get you the best possible settlement.

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