What Happens After a Car Accident in California?

Around 1,500 collisions occur each day in our state, according to the California Highway Patrol (CHP). If a reckless or negligent driver has injured you, seek or summon medical help at once, contact the local police, and then call a Pasadena car accident lawyer as quickly as you can.

If you are injured in a traffic accident, are you obligated to report the accident to the local police agency? Are you required to report the accident to your insurance company or to the Department of Motor Vehicles? If the accident wasn’t your fault, what are your legal rights and options?

Take These Steps After a Traffic Accident

After an accident with injuries, call 911 at once to summon police and medical assistance. Under California law, you must report any traffic accident involving an injury or fatality to the CHP or local law enforcement within twenty-four hours. Report even a minor collision.

That’s the first step, but you must report most accidents two times in California. If the police or CHP arrive on the scene and conduct an investigation, your obligation to file a report with the CHP or local police has been met, but you have another, additional legal responsibility.

You’re also required to submit an accident report to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), regardless of whether the California Highway Patrol or local police conducted an accident investigation, and your driver’s license will be suspended if you do not make this report.

About the SR-1 Form

When you report an accident to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, you must use Form SR-1. If anyone was injured or died, or if damage to property totaled or exceeded $1,000, the SR-1 form must be filed with the DMV no more than ten days after the traffic accident.

You must fill out and file Form SR-1 regardless of who was at fault for the accident or where the accident happened. If you had no automobile insurance coverage at the time of the accident, or if you don’t submit Form SR-1, your California driver’s license will be temporarily suspended.

Form SR-1 must be sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles apart from any report made to local law enforcement, to the Highway Patrol, or to your insurance company. The form may be obtained from any CHP or DMV office or on the internet at the DMV website.

Notify Your Insurance Company

Most car insurance policies require you to inform your insurance company as quickly as you can after a collision. Failing to report a vehicle accident quickly to your car insurance company could prompt the rejection of your injury or property damage claim, and your policy could be canceled.

You do not have to speak to the other driver’s auto insurance company or notify that company about the accident. If you were injured, refer that company’s questions to your Pasadena traffic accident lawyer. Your lawyer will speak to and negotiate with that company on your behalf.

What Makes Accident Investigations Important?

When you report a vehicle accident to the police, and officers conduct an investigation, the police report will include the time and date of the crash, the location of the crash, the names of those involved, and the details regarding visibility, road conditions, and each of the vehicles.

Insurance companies and the courts rely on police accident investigators. These officers are thoroughly trained – and quickly become skilled – as accident examiners. If their report indicates the other motorist was negligent, you’ll be in the best position to recover compensation.

This is an at-fault state for auto insurance, so injured victims of at-fault drivers are entitled by law to be compensated by an at-fault driver’s car insurance company. When a negligent or reckless driver injures you, you may be compensated for medical costs, lost earnings, and more.

Will You Need an Attorney?

However, that compensation is not automatic. Your Pasadena car accident lawyer may have to prove the other motorist’s recklessness or negligence caused your injury. After you’ve been examined and treated by a medical professional, schedule a consultation with your lawyer.

The statute of limitations – that is, the deadline – for bringing an injury claim is two years in this state, but you should arrange immediately to meet with a personal injury attorney. Acting quickly is vital. Evidence can deteriorate, and the memories of the eyewitnesses may fade over time.

If you’ve missed the statute of limitations deadline, your case may qualify as an exception, so go ahead and speak with a Pasadena traffic accident lawyer who can determine if you may still take legal action and bring a personal injury claim.

What Will Justice Cost?

After a reckless or negligent driver injures you, there is no cost to receive personalized legal advice and start the legal process. After you’ve been injured, your first consultation with a Southern California car accident attorney is provided without any obligation or cost.

California personal injury attorneys work for no fee upfront, so you pay no attorney’s fee unless and until your attorney recovers your compensation in the courtroom or with an out-of-court agreement. If for any reason you are not compensated, you’ll owe your attorney nothing.

If you have been injured in a vehicle crash, you may be unable to work. You must have a lawyer who will fight aggressively for the justice you need – a lawyer who addresses your concerns, holds the liable party accountable, and recovers the compensation you need and deserve.

Why Should You Select Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell?

Hundreds of injury attorneys practice in the Southern California region. However, the award-winning legal team at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell has more than forty years of experience representing and successfully fighting for the injured victims of negligence.

Our clients deserve to be compensated for their injuries after an auto, motorcycle, bus, or truck accident. You’ll face some personal challenges after you’ve been injured by another driver, but Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell will help you face the future positively and constructively.

Your initial legal consultation is free, and you pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless a lawyer at Thon Beck Vanni Callahan & Powell recovers your compensation. If you’ve been injured in a traffic crash, contact our Pasadena offices promptly at 626-208-9906, and let us fight for you.