Which of These Accidents Involving Property Damage Requires the Operator To Report the Accident?

Injured or $10,000 sign on pink background. Operator must report accidents involving property damage.

When an accident involves property damage, any damage above $1,000 should be reported to the California police. However, there are other situations where an accident report is required, and failure to report can land you in legal trouble.

In the wake of a car accident, you may be concerned about the damage done to your vehicle. You may feel fine, but your car may have more than cosmetic damage. However, you may be worried not only about the cost of your property damage but also about the reporting of this accident.

So, when are you required to report property damage in an accident? California has specific requirements that can impact when you are required to file. However, at Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we can use your police report at any time to help you secure your right to compensation.

Table of Contents

When Am I Required to Report an Accident?

Following an accident, you may be unsure whether you must report that accident. While filing a report that is not required cannot hurt your accident claim, failure to report an accident that meets the minimum requirements for a California police report can come with serious penalties. Check out the requirements below to ensure you follow state law and take the right steps for your case.

Property Damage Requirements

First, if you are in a car accident and have suffered property damage, you must file if your claim is worth more than $1,000. However, it can be difficult to judge the repair costs for your vehicle and other property at the time of the accident. What may seem like a less severe accident now may be much worse when you arrive at the mechanic.

Because of this, if you suspect that there is anything wrong with your vehicle, it may be safer to report the accident preemptively. Filing it now, when you are uncertain of the level of damage, can help you avoid a situation where the damage is much worse, but you have not yet filed. Even if this report is unnecessary, we can always use it to help navigate your lawsuit and help you receive the compensation you deserve.

Personal Injury Requirements

Beyond property damage, you may be required to report accidents where there are personal injuries. If someone is injured or killed in the accident, you may be legally required to report that accident to the police. If you are unable to do this right away, be sure you report your accident and get a report as soon as possible.

However, you may not be sure if you were injured at all. You may feel fine, but delayed injuries can take a toll on you, leaving you with much more serious issues than you may have expected. Because of this, if you suspect you are injured, seek medical attention immediately and consider filing a claim even if you are unsure.

You Have a Limited Time to File Your Claim

Keep in mind that this report must be filed within a certain time limit. You only have 10 days to file a police report following a California car accident, according to Vehicle Code Section 16000. If you fail to do so, you may face fines or even jail time, depending on the severity of the offense.

Pro Tip
The easiest way to avoid struggling with this deadline is to file your claim as soon as possible after the accident happens. By taking this step, you can avoid more serious potential penalties.

You May Face Penalties if You Do Not Report Your Accident in Time

As mentioned, you only have ten days to file a police report after your California car accident. However, do not forget that you also need to report your accident within 24 hours to the California Highway Patrol according to California Vehicle Code Section 20008. Finally, in accidents involving property damage, you are required to locate the property owner or leave a written notice with your contact information under California Vehicle Code Section 20002.

Drivers are expected to take all these steps and report to all the appropriate authorities or property owners to avoid penalties. If you do not follow these rules, you may be accused of committing a hit-and-run accident, a misdemeanor under these statutes. Because of that, you may face criminal charges if you do not take the right steps following your car accident.

Unfortunately, that means you may be facing both a civil lawsuit where someone else may be at fault for your injuries and criminal charges that can impact your life and your driving privileges. In some cases, if you fail to report to the DMV, you may even lose your license for up to one year. Fortunately, we can help you take action, report your accident, and avoid harsh penalties that can impact your future.

Keep in mind that reporting the incident to one agency or person on this list does not mean that everyone will be notified. We can help you keep track of the people who need to be aware of your case and pursue the right steps for it.

What Steps Can I Take Following a California Car Accident?

As you navigate a California car accident, there are certain steps you can take to maximize the value of your claim. Beyond reporting your accident to the police, other agencies need to know about it. You can take action at the accident scene and beyond to secure compensation for your claim. Reach out to us about any of the following steps if you are struggling to complete them.

Get Medical Care

Following your accident, you may feel fine in the immediate aftermath. However, severe or even life-threatening injuries may have a delayed effect, meaning you may not feel the injury until it has grown much more severe. Because of this, you may need to seek out medical care now, rather than later, to determine whether you have suffered a more severe injury and prevent the worsening of current injuries you are aware of.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Beyond reporting your accident to the police, the DMV, and the other property owner, you may also need to contact your insurance company. Your insurance adjuster can determine what your claim is worth and offer a settlement or other services provided under your insurance policy. Notifying them now can help you recover in the aftermath of your accent.

Keep in mind that the insurance adjuster may not be on your side. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses, meaning they may put their profits above your recovery. We can inspect your settlement offer and determine whether it is fair and accurate.

Document the Accident

While at the accident scene, if possible, gather as much evidence as you can, from witness statements to photos of the scene. When this evidence is available, you may have more aid in proving that the other party caused your injuries and property damage. However, if to get this evidence, you would have to risk your health or safety, let us act as your personal injury lawyers and take care of the evidence-gathering process as your personal injury lawyers.

Call a Lawyer

In the wake of an accident, even one involving only property damage, these steps can become overwhelming and difficult to navigate. You may be concerned about taking the right steps, and in fact, a misstep can cause a reduction or dismissal of your claim. Fortunately, we can step in when you call to take the right steps to get you compensated fairly for your suffering.

You May Have Suffered Severe Injuries in Addition to the Property Damage

As you navigate the aftermath of an accident, you may find yourself dealing with significant, even severe injuries, and these injuries can impact the rest of your life. Car accidents, especially those at high speeds, can play severe force and trauma on the body, leading to dangerous injuries. Below are just a few of the possibilities for catastrophic injuries you may have suffered in your accident:

Unfortunately, these injuries can lead to severe losses and even wrongful death. In these situations, you may need to take action to get the total compensation you are due for the full scope of your losses, not just your property damage. Fortunately, we provide the tools and resources needed to help our clients succeed.

You May Be Due Compensation for Your Property Damage Following an Accident

When you are involved in a car accident involving property damage, that can be a significant expense for you, which can be difficult to overcome. Fortunately, if you have been injured or suffered expenses in an accident, you may be able to sue and get compensated fairly for your losses. Below are some of the most common damages you may be able to pursue if you have suffered property damage or other significant losses.

Economic Damages Can Be Costly

As you pursue compensation for your injuries and property damage, you may be in need of coverage for your economic damages, which cover the scope of your financial losses. These financial losses can include any current or future expenses, which can be estimated and included in your claim. Below is just a sample of the potential economic damages you may be due:

  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Property damage

If you have faced economic losses for any of these specific damages, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit and get compensated fairly. We offer the tools and resources needed to push back and pursue compensation when you have significant expenses like these, and we are ready to help your case in particular. Even if you have only suffered property damage, we can help you better understand what your property damage is worth and what compensation you should pursue.

Traumatic Accidents May Lead to Non-Economic Damages

If you have been in a severe, frightening accident, especially when you have suffered significant injuries, you may also be entitled to damages for the intangible suffering you are experiencing. This pain and suffering, also known as non-economic damages, may be compensated through your lawsuit. However, because these intangible damages do not have a set value like your economic damages, you may need our help to navigate these damages.

In these cases, you may be entitled to compensation for losses like physical pain, anxiety, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life. The severity and significance of these damages can vary depending on how much your injuries disrupt your life. If you are unsure how to calculate these, contact us for the special calculators we use to calculate our clients’ claims.

You Can Take Action if Someone Was Grossly Negligent with Your Safety

While cases involving property damage may not be so significant, you may have been severely injured because someone was grossly negligent with your safety or acted maliciously. In situations like these, when the at-fault party’s actions were so severe, you may be due punitive damages that do not compensate but instead punish the wrongdoer for the actions they took. While these damages are rarely awarded, talk to us if you believe you may be eligible.

Get Aid from Our Team of Experienced, Diligent Car Accident Attorneys

If you have been in an accident involving property damage, there are certain legal requirements you have to meet to protect your future. If you do not take these steps, you may face suspension, fines, and even jail time. That can hurt your future for years to come. Fortunately, you do have options to seek help from attorney Kevin Crockett and the rest of our team.

At Text Kevin Accident Attorneys, we offer a dedicated, thorough analysis of your claim, identifying your next steps and the evidence needed to secure your compensation. If you have any questions about your claim before securing us for your case, we can answer them over free initial consultation. To learn more about our legal services, simply reach out by calling or completing 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.

All Posts

More Legal Blogs

A man inspecting a Rear-End Collision. Relevant to determining fault in a rear-end collision.
Car Accident

Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?

In parking lots, right of way often goes to vehicles in driving lanes, the vehicle on the right, or those moving through lanes. Be cautious even if you have the right of way; other drivers may not stop.

Vehicle parked in lot with question mark. Who has right of way in parking area?
Driving Laws

Who Has the Right of Way in a Parking Lot?

In parking lots, vehicles in driving lanes have the right of way over those in parking spaces. Always yield to oncoming traffic when exiting a spot. If unsure, it’s safest to let cars and pedestrians pass to avoid accidents.

Suggest a Correction