Reporting an accident is very important in order to comply with the law and ensure you are protected if you suffer injury or property damage. It is important you know how to report your car accident in Los Angeles so you will be able to act appropriately in an emergency situation.
How to Report Your Car Accident in Los Angeles
The California Bar Association provides advice and information to those who are involved in a motor vehicle accident. The law requires the California Highway Patrol (CHP) be notified in the event an accident causes injury or death. When someone is hurt or anyone has been killed in the collision, you can contact the police by calling 911 at the accident scene.
If the injuries are not serious enough to necessitate an ambulance or an immediate emergency call to the police, California law still requires reporting of accidents if the damage to either of the involved vehicles was $750 or more, or if anyone ended up getting hurt in the collision. The local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Highway Patrol, local police and your insurance company all can provide the required form that must be filled out to report the collision. The form is called an SR-1 Report of Traffic Accident. The form must be submitted to the DMV. Both drivers have responsibility for alerting the DMV to the accident within 10 days of the time the collision happened.
Drivers who do not stop at the crash scene can be charged with the crime of hit and run, so you should be sure you understand your obligations. Stop your car, see if anyone needs emergency aid, alert the police, and exchange your contact details with the other driver so you do not end up in violation of the law.
All drivers involved in an auto accident also need to report the incident to their insurance companies. You should report to the insurer even if the other driver claims he will take responsibility or claims he will pay for your losses and damages out of his pocket. The other driver may not actually have the money to cover costs, and the extent of your injuries and damages may be unknown at the time of the incident. If it subsequently turns out you have sustained serious damage, the other driver may not follow through on a promise to pay for losses.
When you alert the insurance company, you put the insurer on notice the accident has happened. If you need help getting your costs covered, if the other driver subsequently claims you were at fault, or if the other driver has inadequate insurance and cannot pay, your insurer can step in and provide you with assistance. If you had not notified the insurance company when the accident happened, you may not be able to turn to your insurer to assist with the process of getting car accident compensation later.
You should call your insurer from the crash scene or as soon as possible. Your insurer can provide you with detailed instructions on how the claims process works based on your specific policy terms. Be careful to avoid saying anything to the insurer that could jeopardize your right to obtain compensation for injuries and losses. Speaking with an experienced car accident attorney in Los Angeles can help protect your rights when dealing with either your own insurance company or the company representing an at-fault party.