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The Basics of Reporting a Car Accident in California

If you have been involved in a car accident in the state of California you may not be aware of the fact that some laws have changed recently. If your car crash resulted in property damage in excess of $1,000, injury, or death then you have just ten days to report the incident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Neglecting to do so could end in the loss or the suspension of your driver’s license. The information that is needed to fill out the DMV report is also information that will be useful to you as a car accident victim. Passing this information on to your personal injury attorney will give them a reliable place to start when they work on building your case. They will be apprised of information such as which insurance company to contact and who else was involved in or witnessed the accident that they will need to speak to. Trying to move forward in collecting compensation without this information or a legally registered vehicle accident report is going to be very harmful to your claim, maybe to the point of it being dropped altogether. The information that you need to collect in order to fill out your report in the time given includes:

When Do I Need to Report?

In the state of California, you are required by law to report any car accident you are involved in that:

  • Resulted in any type of injury;
  • Resulted in death; and/or
  • Resulted in property damage greater than $1,000.

In California, in order for you to correctly file a car crash report with the Department of Motor Vehicles, either you, your personal injury attorney or your insurance representative has to first fill out the Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (Form SR-1). In order for this form to be properly filled out in full the person filing it must know the following:

  • The time and the location where the crash took place;
  • The name, date of birth, and address of any other motorists;
  • The license information from any other motorists involved;
  • The license plate information and state of registration for any other automobiles involved;
  • The insurance information of any other drivers (policy number, the name of the insurance company, and policy expiry date);
  • An account of any injuries or property damage;
  • Name of anyone involved who is claiming they are injured; and
  • Attorney name and contact information, if the other party involved has one.

One Year Rule

If no one who was involved in that car accident has filed a report of its occurrence to the California Department of Motor Vehicles after one year’s time, then a report of the crash is no longer required and the state laws regarding the suspension of a driver’s license no longer apply.

Exceptions to Filing

According to California state law, if the car that was involved in the accident was owned, leased by, being used by or under the management of the state of California or any of its local bureaus no accident report is needed.

If you have recently been involved in a car accident in the Los Angeles, California area and you are still unsure if you need to file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles or you have questions on how to do so, we here at the Los Angeles Injury Group are ready to help. For a free consultation and case review, contact one of our experienced attorneys at (310) 954-7248 to discuss your case and find out what we can do for you.


Note for the readers: This post has been derived from the use of secondary sources and the information provided has not been independently confirmed. The photos depicted in these posts are not representative of the actual accident.  Any inaccuracies will be swiftly corrected once they have been brought to the site’s attention and all requests to remove posts will be honored.

Disclaimer: This post is intended to provide general information to our readers and to honor the victims of everyday tragedies. We do not wish to cause any disrespect and none of the information contained in this post should be construed to constitute legal or medical advice. Laws vary by jurisdiction and cases often turn on minor differences In fact. Do not rely exclusively on any of the information contained in this post and seek further assistance from a legal or medical professional, where necessary.

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