If you find yourself involved in a fender-bender while you are driving in Woodland Hills, you may wonder if you need to tell the Department of Motor Vehicles or your insurance company. The law in California is clear: if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in California, you must report the accident to the DMV, regardless of whether you are at fault for causing the accident. The police and/or your insurance company will not do it for you. Consulting with an attorney who focuses on auto accident claims can be a smart move to make sure you comply with California law.
You can report the accident to the DMV by completing the “SR 1” form on the DMV’s website (also found here) or by speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Woodland Hills who will file it on your behalf. The form asks for information about you and the other driver, including name, address, and vehicle description. You will also fill in information about insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
The time limit to report the accident to the DMV is 10 days, even if you did not cause the accident and even if the accident occurred on private property. California DMV keeps information about every collision reported to it by law enforcement, unless the officer says the other person was at fault, or if there was damage, injury, or death. The law requires the DMV to keep this information.
With respect to your insurance company, if the auto accident involved another vehicle (and 7 in 10 car accidents do), you will want to report it to your insurance company (or have your attorney do so on your behalf), as nearly all insurance policies contain language requiring reports to the insurer of any and all accidents. After an accident, adrenaline and confusion may cause you to underestimate the amount of damage–on either side. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that even in a staged accident where cars were traveling ten miles per hour, each sustained close to $4,000 in damages. This is often well over the collision deductible for most insurance policies and an important reason to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney in Woodland Hills.
What Happens if You Don’t Report a Car Accident?
Not reporting the auto accident means that the DMV could take your drivers license away for one year — no excuses. If the other driver was at fault, you should consider filing a claim with your insurance company. Depending on your policy, reporting the accident could ensure you receive the funds you need to fix the car.
For more information on when and how to report an auto accident to your insurance company, and to ensure that you receive the compensation for your injuries that you deserve, contact personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.