Guide to Filing a Police Report After a California Car Accident

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Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident: What to Know

Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident: What to Know

Jul 3, 2023

Car accidents happen constantly in Southern California, and the number of serious crashes involving either injuries or fatalities is only increasing. In fact, the most recent California car accident statistics confirm that 289 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes through the end of 2021. In terms of the spike in local car accidents, those figures mean:

  • A 21% increase through the same period in 2020
  • A 19% increase during the same period in 2019

Additionally, in 2021, 1,465 people were seriously injured in Los Angeles-area car accidents through December 25 of that year.

Guide to Filing a Police Report After a California Car Accident

Under most circumstances, anyone involved in a California car accident is required by law to report the incident to police as well as the Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV).

When Do You Legally Have to Report a California Car Accident to Police?

Under California law, drivers involved in car accidents need to file a report with either the applicable police, sheriff, or highway patrol department within 24 hours when the following occurs:

  • Any type of bodily injury (major or minor)
  • Any time a death occurs

It should be noted that this law applies broadly to any injury or death sustained by:

  • Drivers
  • Passengers
  • Pedestrians

Furthermore, a police report is required whenever one or more of the following situations arise:

  • Any of the involved drivers are unlicensed
  • Any of the involved drivers flee the scene (commit a hit-and-run)
  • Any of the involved drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • In short, the only time you may be able to get away with not filing a police report after a California car accident is for an extremely minor fender bender with minimal property damage and zero injuries confirmed (keeping in mind that many motor vehicle collision injuries can show delayed symptoms).

    Again, it’s important to remember that police reports are required within 24 hours of the car accident occurring.

    When Do You Legally Have to Report a California Car Accident to the DMV?

    In addition to filing an official report with police, a California car accident involving an injury or death must also be reported to the DMV within 10 days of the incident occurring. But even if no injuries happen in a car accident, a DMV report is required whenever more than $1,000 in property damage occurs. Your DMV report must be submitted within 10 days of the car accident.

    Filing a Police Report After a Car Accident – Who to Call

    The easiest way to report a California car accident is by either:

    • Dialing 911 at the scene (for serious crashes)
    • By calling the Los Angeles Police Department non-emergency line at 877-ASK-LAPD (877-275-5273)

    For a list of local California police and law enforcement agencies, please click here.

    Additionally, you can contact the following Southern California-area law enforcement agencies to report your car accident:

    Why Should You Always File a Police Report After a Car Accident?

    In addition to it typically being required under the law, filing a police report can have numerous advantages, particularly if you suffer injuries in the crash:

    • Provides evidence of the accident and resulting injuries which can be beneficial to your eventual civil lawsuit to recover financial damages
    • Provides evidence of the driver who was placed at-fault which can help prove your car accident civil claim

    By obtaining a police report, seeking medical attention, and filing your claim with Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) Los Angeles car accident attorneys, your case will have the best chance of securing justice as well as maximum financial compensation.

    What’s Included in a Local Police Department Car Accident Report?

    Police reports following car accidents typically include a number of pieces of information:

    • The names of all involved drivers
    • The contact information of all involved drivers
    • Date and location of the car crash
    • Copy of all involved drivers’ licenses
    • Details of any processing fees (which you can submit when filing a civil claim with DLG)
    • Details of who was placed at fault (description of the crash)

    Should I Report My Car Accident to the Insurance Company?

    It’s important to report any car accident to your auto insurance provider as soon as possible after a crash occurs. However, DLG’s Glendale-based car accident lawyers recommend that you be sure to:

    • Secure legal representation before speaking with the insurance company
    • Never make an official statement or admit fault when speaking to the insurance company
    • Never accept any financial compensation or cash settlement from the insurance company without consulting a personal injury attorney first

    Unlike reporting car accidents to the police or DMV, there is technically no deadline for making a report with your insurance company. However, it is recommended that this always be done as soon as possible – preferably immediately after you secure representation with a qualified personal injury lawyer.

    Need Help After Your California Car Accident? Contact DLG for a Free Consultation

    After a car accident due to another driver’s negligence, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages if you suffered any type of injury – whether minor or catastrophic. Car accident claim damages often include:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Lost wages
    • Diminished future earning capacity
    • Emotional trauma
    • Hospital expenses
    • Medical bills/treatment costs
    • Punitive damages

    A skilled car accident lawyer from DLG can help you navigate the legal process and provide the support and expertise you need to ensure that you recover the justice as well as maximum financial compensation you deserve.

    Contact us today by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM to schedule your free, confidential, and no obligation consultation. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, we’ll only accept your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that you never have to worry about paying anything upfront. There’s no risk to you with DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee – we only accept payment after successfully securing the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your car accident claim.

    Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

    Don’t let the insurance company or at-fault driver take advantage of your right to justice. Contact DLG’s experienced and trusted car accident attorneys today by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM.

    Go See Sam