You were in a minor car accident. No police report was filed. What happens?
If there’s no police report for a car crash in California, you can still pursue a claim. To succeed, gather compelling evidence to support your case, as it must outweigh the other party’s argument.
Now, most people report accidents to the police. And most reported accidents result in a police officer’s visit to the scene. However, sometimes the police fail to respond, or people neglect to report the accident when they think it’s only a fender bender.
Because California law requires a police report in certain circumstances, let’s look at what happens if there is no police report for a car accident in California.
Car Accident—No Police Report. California May Require One
The California Vehicle Code requires that drivers or their representative make a written report with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) or a local police department within 24 hours of the crash if any of the following apply:
- Someone is injured;
- Someone dies; and
- Damage to any vehicle or property exceeds $1,000
For accidents in California involving injury, death, or property damage exceeding $1,000, drivers must also fill out an SR-1 report with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of the crash.
The DMV will suspend your license if you do not complete an SR-1 form.
There can also be complications if you try to file an insurance claim without a police report.
You may be unable to recover compensation for your property damage or injuries. Or you might have trouble providing the evidence you need to support your claim.
In rare worst-case scenarios, you could even lose your driving privileges, pay a fine, and end up in jail.
Speaking with an experienced attorney is crucial if you were in an accident and did not file a police report.
A skilled car accident attorney can interview witnesses, gather photographic or video evidence, and work with accident reconstruction specialists to develop your claim.
An attorney will also be your advocate should you face any criminal penalties.
Minor Car Accident—No Police Report?
In California, you do not necessarily need a police report to file an insurance claim after an accident. While it’s not a strict requirement, having a police report can be beneficial as it provides clear and credible evidence to support your claim. Insurance companies often consider police reports when processing claims, as they help establish the details of the accident and determine fault. However, you can still initiate the insurance claims process without a police report, especially for minor accidents. It’s advisable to contact your insurance provider promptly to understand their specific requirements and procedures for filing a claim in such situations.
When you file a claim with the insurance company, the company uses the police report to provide its underwriters with proof of the accident.
Adjusters also use the report to determine who caused the accident and to confirm and assess your property damages and injuries.
If you did not call the police or receive a police report after a minor accident and want to pursue damages, a skilled car accident attorney might still be able to help you pursue a settlement.
Securing the help of a qualified advocate will help you get the best possible outcome for your claim.
The Car Accident Attorneys at Wells Call Injury Lawyers Can Help You
We understand insurance companies and will fight to get you the settlement you deserve. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients and will work just as hard for you.