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When and why you should report a car accident to the dmv

Reporting accidents to the DMV.The aftermath of a motor vehicle collision can be confusing and stressful. In some cases, a driver may not be aware that they are required to report an accident to the DMV, or what the criteria is for reportable accidents. The failure to report a reportable accident can have repercussions, such as the suspension of driving privileges, fines, and even jail or prison time. 

Do I Have to Report An Accident to the DMV in California?

If you’ve been involved in a motor vehicle collision in California, regardless of the severity of the accident, you are required to stop and exchange insurance information with the other driver. The failure to do so can result in a hit-and-run charge. If anyone in the accident suffered injuries, or if the accident has obstructed the road, you must contact 911 and report the accident to the CHP or local law enforcement. 

The California DMV requires any party involved in an automobile accident to report the accident by filling out a Traffic Accident Report SR 1 form within ten days from the date of the crash. 

However, not every accident has to be reported to the DMV. An auto accident must be reported if the following occurs:

  • The accident involved a fatality 
  • Someone was injured in the accident 
  • The car crash resulted in more than $1,000 in property damage. 

What Happens if I Don’t Report a Car Accident?

If you fail to report a reportable accident in California, you may lose your driving privileges until a report is made. Failure to report your accident can also result in fines ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000 and up to one year in jail. 

If you fail to report a collision that involves serious injury or death, you may be faced with ninety days in jail, two to four years in prison, and a fine ranging from $1,000 up to $10,000, or both. 

Do I Have to Report An Auto Accident to My Insurance Company?

Insurance companies require their policyholders to report an accident within 24-72 hours. Failure to report an accident to your insurance company can result in the loss of coverage or higher premiums. If you’re unsure of the accident reporting requirements for your auto insurance provider, you can find the information in your policy or by contacting your insurer directly. 

Contact Us Today 

If you were involved in an auto accident that was caused by a negligent driver, contact a car accident lawyer at Lem Garcia Law today to schedule a free legal consultation. We can meet with you to discuss your case, go over your legal rights and options, and help guide you through the entire legal process, including helping you report your collision to the DMV. Contact us today to learn more.