What Happens if You Don’t Call the Police After an Accident?

A man standing next to a phone with question marks representing if they should call 911.

If you fail to contact the police and report your accident, you could face penalties like fines or even jail time. Police reports are a legal requirement, and if you fail to alert them to an accident, you may face serious penalties.

In the wake of a car accident, you may feel lost, injured, and unsure where to turn. However, you may also be uncertain whether your accident is severe enough to warrant pursuing compensation or calling the police. In these cases, you may not know whether you are obligated to call the police at all, especially if the crash is relatively minor.

However, the threshold between an accident that must be reported and one that does not can be fine and difficult to spot. Because of this, you may need further legal guidance to help you navigate these situations and determine your next steps forward following a car accident. Our team at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys is here to provide the support you need following your crash.

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You Have a Legal Obligation to Report Certain Accidents

As an injury victim in a car accident, you may be unsure exactly what is expected of you. Your accident may have been caused by another person, but what obligations do you have as someone involved in the accident? In these situations, it is easy to feel lost and uncertain of what to do.

However, remember that one obligation you must fulfill is that your accident must be reported. This obligation is crucial to your ability to recover compensation, so do not hesitate to reach out to file. Below are a few details you may need to keep in mind as you navigate this element of your case.

California’s Legal Requirements on Reporting Accidents

As a California resident, you are required to report certain accidents when they happen. If the damage accrued in the accident is more than $1,000 or if someone is injured or killed in the accident, a report must be filed with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) according to Vehicle Code Section 16000. Fortunately, reporting your accident is as easy as calling the police.

Many people feel unsure if they need to report their accident because it can be difficult to judge the severity of what occurred. For example, you may not have gotten medical attention yet, or you may think that the damage to your car is strictly cosmetic. Fortunately, there are no penalties for unnecessarily reporting an accident like you may face for failing to report a more severe wreck.

You Have a Limited Time to Report Your Accident

Remember that you only have a limited time to report your accident. According to California Vehicle Code section 20008, drivers or passengers are expected to report the event within 10 days of the date it happened, or they may face penalties. You also have 24 hours to report your accident to the police. That means you may need to act quickly on your accident case.

Fortunately, the step can be easier if you simply alert the police to your accident when it happens. By alerting emergency services, you can get help at the scene of the accident as soon as possible, whether you must file or not. Getting that help can prevent worsening injuries or even stop fatal injuries.

What Happens if I Fail to Report My Accident?

You may face serious legal penalties if you fail to report your accident. Failure to report an accident is a crime under the above statutes, and you may be penalized for it. Those penalties may be a hefty fine or license suspension, or they may be as severe as jail time in more serious cases.

Tip
If you are unsure whether you need to report your car accident, the best solution is to simply report it anyway. Accidents can become serious more quickly than you expect, and a report for a minor accident can still be useful, so consider reporting even if your accident does not seem severe.

We Can Make Reporting and Using Your Car Accident Report Easy

Experiencing a car crash is disorienting and potentially dangerous, making it hard to follow the steps you need. Fortunately, our team at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys can help you manage the process quickly and easily.

All You Have to Do Is Call to Report

First, you need to take no specific tactics or steps to report your accident. If you choose to alert the police to your accident at the scene, simply calling 911 and requesting a police officer file an accident report at the scene is enough. If you do not do this at the time, you can still contact the nearest police station and notify them.

Getting a Copy of Your Car Accident Report

Your accident report includes specific information about the wreck. As you navigate your lawsuit, that information could be helpful in keeping a record of what happened in your accident. Fortunately, getting a copy of that accident report is simple.

One of the easiest ways to get a copy of your accident report is through the California DMV’s online portal. However, if you do not have stable internet access or are unsure how to navigate the page, we can help you get your copy by mail or in person. You can access this report after paying a small fine, which will likely help you navigate your case.

We Can Make Use of Your Car Accident Report

Car accident reports filed by police officers are not necessarily admissible in court because they are considered hearsay. However, your accident report may be more useful if the police officer was an eyewitness to your accident. This does not mean that having a copy of your car accident police report is not useful for your case.

When we get a copy of your accident report, we can use that report to keep your version of events as close to the objective account as possible. When a police report is filed in the immediate aftermath of the accident, it can present as clear a view of what happened as possible, while those details can get less clear as time passes. When navigating a case that can take years, having that clear record can help you remember exactly what happened and what damages you sustained.

Note
Your police report may not be admissible in court or powerful evidence unless the police officer witnessed the accident. However, this report can be used to support your claim and lead you to answers as you navigate it.

Steps You Can Take in the Aftermath of an Accident While You Report

When you are involved in a car accident in California, reporting your accident is not the only step you need to take to move forward. Other steps can help you avoid a failed or denied claim or even legal trouble. When it comes to a car wreck, it is important to handle the situation as carefully as you can.

Get Medical Care

In the immediate wake of the accident, you may have severe injuries that can be difficult to recover from. In these situations, you must seek medical care for your many injuries. Getting medical care now can help prove you were injured in the ways you claim as you file your insurance claim.

Medical care is a vital part of your physical recovery from a car accident, as these accidents can lead to spinal cord trauma, head injuries, burns, and much more. However, consider seeking medical care even if you feel fine. Studies published in the National Library of Medicine state that rates of missed injuries are as high as 39% in many studies, but taking action now to get medical care can help you avoid misdiagnoses that could protect your safety.

Gather Evidence of Your Accident

As you make the many phone calls needed to report an accident, take time, if possible, to gather evidence of the scene. Typically, evidence gathering should be done through photos, videos, or other similar evidence. This can provide needed support for your version of events.

Gathering evidence of your car crash preserves proof that supports your case throughout the time it takes to follow your lawsuit. Lawsuits can take years to settle, but evidence can be lost in a matter of days or weeks. Preserving this evidence now rather than later can help you support your claim and protect the evidence in your favor.

Notify Your Insurance Company

As you navigate your police report, you may also need to notify your insurance company. Even if you do not have coverage beyond the state-required liability insurance policies, you may still have certain benefits based on your specific insurance company. Your insurer will also need to create a record of the accident, so do not hesitate to reach out and learn more about what you can do about your accident.

Reach Out to Our Team

While you may be taking the steps needed to help your claim succeed following a car accident, it is still easy to make missteps. You are hurt and suffering, which can make it difficult to do the right things for your case. Because of this, connecting with an attorney can help you deal with these issues.

Our team offers thorough, aggressive defenses of our clients’ claims, identifying the best path for them as they navigate a claim. We offer free consultations, meaning our clients can learn more about the possibilities of their case before they choose us. We also provide significant experience in the courtroom, which can be extremely valuable as you try to navigate your case.

Pro Tip
In the wake of an accident, our team is one of the first groups you may want to consider contacting. We can help you navigate the specifics of your crash claim, helping you get the compensation you are due.

How Our Car Accident Attorneys Can Help You

As you navigate your car accident claim with a police report, you may be unsure how to handle your case best. You are injured and suffering and may be inexperienced in this field. Fortunately, our attorneys can provide a few key benefits that can help you pursue compensation.

Get a Track Record of Success on Your Side

Filing a claim in the courtroom without aid can be a scary and difficult process. You may be worried about making a mistake, and unfortunately, that is not an uncommon occurrence. Beyond the time limits to file under California Civil Code 335.1, many claims are impacted by comparative fault laws, as outlined in California Civil Code 1714. Without aid, it is easy to make costly mistakes.

We have years of experience handling cases like yours and have fought hard to help as many as we can. We provide aggressive defense and have a history of satisfied clients. If you are struggling to navigate your case, get tested success from attorney Kevin Crockett and the rest of our team.

Focus on Your Recovery, Not Your Lawsuit

When you have been injured in a car accident, your injury recovery can take time and effort to complete. However, if you don’t have help in the courtroom, it can be difficult to take the time you need to focus on your recovery. Unfortunately, many people who try to file alone find themselves sacrificing the time and energy required for recovery to focus on their claim.

When we represent your case, we handle the hard work for you, making it as easy as possible for you to navigate your case. That way, you can focus on rehabilitation, physical therapy, and medical care needed to overcome your devastating injuries. We step in so our clients do not have to juggle their physical recovery and their financial recovery.

Seek Help Navigating Your Car Accident Claim with Our Dedicated Team of Accident Lawyers

When you are involved in a car accident, one of your first questions may be whether to report that accident to the police. Your accident may not seem so severe, but the losses you suffer may add up quickly. Because of this, we often suggest you report your accident regardless of severity and let us use that evidence to help you get compensated.

At Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we help our clients make the right steps toward compensation, as evidenced by our testimonials page. If you have been involved in a car crash, you can reach out to us through a free consultation, where we can discuss the specifics of your case and how we can help you recover. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, call or fill out our online contact form.

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett

Kevin Crockett is an award-winning personal injury lawyer who understands the impact an accident can have on someone’s life. That’s why he aggressively fights for each of his clients.

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