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Does my minor vehicle accident need to be reported?

car accident You drive to survive. You don’t take unnecessary chances on the road, and you follow all the rules. But this is not always enough. It is not uncommon for other drivers to speed, get distracted, or make unwise moves on the road. Such recklessness can lead to an accident. Not all such accidents are catastrophic. You may get into a minor fender bender with another driver—the kind of accident that is more of an annoyance than a serious problem. 

If you are in a minor vehicle accident, you may think it unnecessary to report it to the authorities. There are good reasons why you should. 

After a vehicle accident, no matter how minor, you should immediately call the police. While waiting for the police you can exchange information with the other driver. When the officers arrive, they will ask you questions about the accident. You should tell them what you know, but you need not say anything that puts you at fault for the accident. Making a false statement to the police is a crime, so you should avoid doing it. But if the officer asks you a question that you are uncomfortable answering, you can tell them that you would rather speak to your San Diego car accident attorney first. 

Once the officer has all the information from both parties, they will file a formal report. 

Filing a Car Accident Report 

In the state of California, drivers involved in accidents that result in injury or death must contact the police and make a written report within 24 hours of the incident. You must file a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days of the accident. 

You should also review your insurance policy to determine how long you have to file a report with them. Before doing so, you may want to contact a car accident attorney in San Diego. In most instances, you will need to file a claim soon after the accident. California has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims and a three-year time limit for property damage claims. 

When you speak to the officer who arrives at the scene and they take your statement, this is essentially filing your car accident report to the police. As far as the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can submit your report online by downloading an SR 1 from their website. 

You should be aware that not filing a report can put you on the wrong side of the law. You must report the accident, no matter how minor or who was at fault, if it involved injury, death, or more than $1,000 in property damage. 

Why It is In Your Interest to Report the Accident 

A car accident may seem minor because you do not feel pain, dizziness, or any other symptoms that indicate a serious injury. However, you never know what will happen in the future. You may have suffered an internal injury in the accident, and the symptoms may not appear until much later. If this is the case, a police record of the accident will be helpful. 

A San Diego personal injury attorney can help you make a case against the other driver. You will need to make a claim against them, and this starts with official documentation of the accident. You have up to two years after the injury is discovered to make a claim. But to get your lawsuit off the ground, you must have proof that it actually occurred. And the easiest way to demonstrate this is to have a police, DMV, and insurance report on file. 

A San Diego personal injury lawyer can help with all of this. You should call the San Diego personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Keith J. Stone to review your legal options.             

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