Do I Have to Call the Police After a Car Accident?

The roof of a police cruiser at night

If you have gotten into a car accident, you may feel unsure about what your next steps should be.

Who should you call? Do the police have to be notified?

Being involved in a car accident can be confusing and scary, but with a little information, you can feel more certain about the steps you need to take in the immediate aftermath of a wreck.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you do not have to have to deal with the impact of that accident by yourself. An experienced California car accident attorney can help guide you through the process.

From representing you in conversations with any insurance companies involved to gathering police reports and medical files.

If you are looking for a car accident attorney in Fresno, look no further than Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law. Our experienced attorneys will work with you to help you receive the compensation you deserve to help you reclaim your life after a car accident.

Contact us today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation so that we can hear the facts of your case and work to provide you with an individualized legal plan that will give you the best chance at recovering the compensation you need to move on.

Fill out our online contact form or call us at (559) 878-4958 to schedule your confidential consultation today!

When to Call the Police for a Car Accident?

One of the first questions you may have after a car accident, especially if it is minor, is whether or not the police need to get involved. This is an important question to know the answer to because choosing to proceed incorrectly can have lasting repercussions.

The good news is that the answer is straightforward, but there is some information available to help you make the right choice.

If you have been in a car accident, after checking to ensure your safety and that of your passengers, you also have an expectation to check on and provide assistance to anyone else who was involved in the accident.

If you or anyone else has been injured as a result of the accident, the police must be called, and an accident report will need to be filed within 24 hours of the accident.

Additionally, if the accident resulted in over $1000 in property damage or if the accident resulted in the death or injury of any of the people involved, a report must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of the accident.

You may be responsible for filing this information even if police officers responded to the scene and filed their own reports. If you fail to report the accident to the DMV, your driving privileges could be revoked, as failure to file a report could result in the suspension of your license. 

Reasons to Call Law Enforcement for Accidents

Even if it’s a minor accident, and no one was injured, it is a good idea to get the authorities involved. There are several reasons why having law enforcement at the scene of an accident can be beneficial to you.

Law Enforcement Can Preserve Evidence

Once law enforcement has arrived at the scene of the accident, they can give assistance to anyone who needs it. They will also assess the scene and write a detailed report of the wreck, which will contain vital information that you’ll need for your case if you decide to file a claim.

This information generally includes:

  • Contact and insurance information for other drivers involved in the accident
  • Witness contact information
  • Details about how the wreck occurred
  • Statements from everyone involved in the accident
  • Conclusions from the officers about the cause of the accident
  • Any traffic citations that were issued as a response to the wreck

Gives You Peace of Mind

Even if you don’t feel as though you are injured at the scene of your accident, some injuries, especially soft tissue injuries (i.e., whiplash), can take days or weeks to present themselves.

Even if you weren’t planning on pursuing a claim either with your insurance company or that of the other driver, a police report will be very beneficial to you if find out later that you have been injured or determine that your car repairs would be more costly than you originally thought.

The ability to have this information available to you in the future is beneficial for all parties involved.

Helps You Avoid Disputes in Your Case

Having an accident report written by a law enforcement officer will also help you avoid any disputes in the case.

If the police are not notified of an accident right away, the insurance company could potentially try to pay you out for less than you deserve or even deny your claim altogether.

Additionally, insurance agents may try to argue that the accident did not happen or, if you sustained injuries, that your injuries were a result of something else, which would enable them to walk away from providing you with the compensation you deserve. 

How Should I File a Car Crash Report in California?

Even if police officers show up at the scene of the accident, it is still up to the people involved in the accident to file a car crash report with the DMV if the accident resulted in injury or death to anyone involved or if the property damage will cost more than $1000 to fix.

Failure to file this report within ten days of the accident can result in a driver getting their driving privileges revoked. 

To file a car crash report with the DMV in California, there is specific information that you will need to have. You will need to know the following:

  • Scene and time of the accident
  • Other driver’s contact information
  • Other driver’s license information
  • Other driver’s insurance information
  • Other driver’s license plate number and state information
  • Name and address of all insurance policyholders
  • Name and address of all vehicle owners of vehicles involved in the accident
  • Explanation of property damage or injuries
  • Name and address of anyone complaining of bodily injuries

After the accident, you will have ten days to inform the DMV of the crash. In order to do that, you will need to complete the Report of Traffic Accident in California form, also called the SR-1 form. This form can be completed by you, your insurance agent, or a hired legal representative.

What Happens If I Don’t Get a Police Report From My Minor Accident?

Even if you have only been involved in a minor accident, not obtaining a police report can end up being a major hassle.

If you think that it could, however remotely, be a possibility that you will end up filing a claim with your insurance company, it is in your best interest to have a police report handy. 

Without a police report, your insurance company may try to reject your claim. Insurance companies use police reports to help provide their underwriters with proof that the accident actually occurred.

Additionally, insurance adjusters also use the police report to help them determine the cause of the accident, as well as to help them determine the scope of the damage and injuries that resulted from the accident. 

If you were involved in an accident and did not receive a police report, it does not mean that all hope is lost.

If it turns out that you have been injured and are interested in seeking damages from an insurance company, get in contact with an experienced car accident attorney from Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law to hear about your options.

One of our attorneys may still be able to help you receive the compensation that you need. 

Contact an Experienced California Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in California, with or without a police report, contacting a compassionate, experienced attorney will give you the best chance at recovering the compensation you need to be able to move on with your life.

The attorneys at Singh Ahluwalia Attorneys at Law are here to help. We want to work with you and give you the best chance at receiving the compensation you need from the insurance companies to be able to heal from your accident and get back to your normal life.

Please get in touch with us today so that we can schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with you. One of our attorneys will listen to the particulars of your case and plan a personalized legal plan that will give you the best chance at receiving the compensation you need.

To schedule your free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, please call us at (559) 878-4958 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you and can’t wait to get started working on your case.