California Auto Accident Reporting Requirements

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You may wonder whether you are obligated to contact the police following an auto accident in California.

Car accidents are an unfortunate reality. Even if drivers strive to be attentive and responsive at all times, accidents still happen. If you are involved in an auto accident in California, you may not be familiar with what steps to take. While you should immediately seek medical attention for any injuries resulting from the incident, what about reporting the accident? Do you have a legal responsibility to do so? Let’s take a few minutes to understand the auto accident reporting requirements in California.

What to do Right After the Accident Occurs

As soon as the accident occurs, check yourself, your passengers, and any other people at the scene for any injuries. If anyone is hurt or if someone is clearly intoxicated, immediately call for an ambulance. As you wait for the medics to arrive, exchange basic contact and insurance information with the other driver. It’s important that you do not discuss the details of the accident itself—do not take any responsibility. Next, it’s a good idea to contact law enforcement so that an accident report can be made.

When to Notify the Police Following an Auto Accident

There are certain instances where a police officer must be notified that an auto accident has occurred. If a party involved in the accident did not remain at the scene, this may be considered a hit-and-run accident, and the police must be notified. If the accident involves an unlicensed driver, law enforcement should be contacted immediately. In other instances, you are not required by law to contact the police about the accident, but it’s almost always a good idea to do so anyway. In accidents that result in injuries, a police report can be used as a balanced and impartial account of the accident when one party decides to take legal action against the other. Additionally, if the damages at the scene appear to exceed $1,000, the police should be notified. 

How a Police Report Can Help You

Even if you don’t think it’s worth your time to call the police following an auto accident, you should do so anyway. You may discover that you suffered a more serious and persistent injury than you initially thought, and you may wish to pursue compensation from the driver responsible for causing the accident. During this legal process, the police report will likely provide important details about the accident that may make your claim more successful. While calling the police after a car accident may seem unnecessary, you’ll be glad that you did when you decide to seek compensation later on. 


Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation is here to help you collect compensation following an auto accident in the Temecula or Murrieta area. Call 1-888-WORK (9675) now to get started with a dedicated attorney.

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