Car accidents disrupt your daily life with a unique efficiency. Accidents that turn out to be more severe than they first appeared can often drain you of your free time and financial resources. Even the less severe accidents can put pressure on your time, though, as you’re expected to fill out all kinds of paperwork in the days that follow them.
You already know that you have to inform your insurance provider about any recent car accidents you’ve been in. Did you know, though, that you may also have to file a car accident report? California’s SR-1s help the state keep track of its residents’ driving records.
You can opt to file a car accident report on your own or with help from a legal professional. If you’re struggling with your post-accident paperwork or aren’t sure whether or not you need to file a claim, let Simmrin Law Group know. Our California car accident lawyers can step in, assess your circumstances, and advise you accordingly.
How to File a California Car Accident Report
You have an obligation to report an automotive collision to California’s DMV. The state specifically requires you to file an SR-1 report within ten days of your accident so long as you meet certain criteria. You must fill out one of these reports if:
- Someone was injured in your recent accident
- The recent accident generated over $1,000 in property damage
California requires you to submit an SR-1 regardless of whether or not you caused the car accident. It doesn’t matter if the accident happened on private property, either. If you meet the aforementioned criteria, make sure to include an SR-1.
Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think to access SR-1 paperwork. You can find yours in person at the DMV or online.
Witnesses Are Not Obligated to Fill Out Car Accident Reports in California
California only requires the parties involved in a car accident to submit SR-1 reports to its DMVs. Car accident witnesses have an obligation to help injured parties but do not have to file paperwork in the wake of a crash.
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Car Accidents Can Show Up on Your Driving Record
Filing an SR-1 does mean that your most recent collision will appear on your driving record – in most cases. If you can prove that you do not bear the fault for your recent accident, the crash won’t appear on your driving record. In turn, it shouldn’t impact your insurance premiums or put you at risk for criminal charges.
That said, the DMV will retain a record of the accident, regardless of whether you or another party caused it. If the other party involved in your accident refuses to file an SR-1, consider getting in touch with a California car accident lawyer. You may have to take legal action against the offending party to comply with state law.
Consequences for Failing to File a Car Accident Report
The state of California can suspend your driving privileges if you fail to file an SR-1 report within ten days of a collision. Likewise, the state may also suspend your driving privileges if it appears that either you or the other party involved in the accident were on the road without the state’s minimum liability coverage.
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How to Create an Accurate Car Accident Report
You are obligated to make your SR-1 report as accurate as possible. With that in mind, it’s important to collect information from the scene of your accident. If you’re not injured, you and any passengers in your car can assess the scene for signs of negligence.
You should also have a conversation with the other party involved in your accident to get their:
- Date of birth
- License number and state
- License plate number
- Insurance company name
- Insurance policy number and expiration date
- An assessment of injuries
- An assessment of property damage
That said, do not pursue a fleeing driver away from the scene of your accident to get this information. Doing so can be dangerous. Instead, let police officers know that the other party fled the scene and let them do their jobs. You, in turn, can work with emergency responders to address any injuries you may have.
You can later contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss how to fill out an SR-1 or other legal documents without this information. Simmrin Law Group stands ready to step in to demystify the legal process on your behalf.
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Your Right to Legal Action After a Car Accident
While you may find yourself obligated to file an SR-1 claim, there’s a chance someone else may bear the liability for your losses. In these cases, you may have the right to assume a personal injury case against the offending party.
You can work with Simmrin Law Group to file a civil claim before your statute of limitations expires. We can fight for your right to post-accident compensation together.
Let’s Discuss Your Car Accident Today
It can seem like a lot of effort to file a car accident report after a California accident. If no one got hurt, is there a point? More often than not, yes. There’s a chance that you may have sustained injuries that haven’t made themselves known yet, and you may still have to contend with substantial property damage.
What’s more, California law requires parties that meet certain criteria to file an SR-1 report after a crash. Filing these reports ensures that information about that accident can go on your record. You may face fines or legal consequences if you ignore that responsibility.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re obligated to file an SR-1 after a recent car accident, get in touch with the car accident lawyers in California. Simmrin Law Group can step in and help you better understand your post-accident responsibilities. You can contact us for a free case evaluation today.