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What Happens After a Car Accident With No Police Report?

Vehicle accidents occur all the time, but most of them are reported to the police. The reality is that California law requires that most vehicle accidents be reported to law enforcement officials. When a police officer responds to a scene, they will conduct a preliminary investigation and fill out an accident report. This accident report is crucial when it comes to various parties recovering compensation. However, there are times when vehicle accidents occur and the police do not respond to the scene. This means that there is no police report. Here, we want to discuss what happens after a vehicle accident with no police report.

What Does California Law Say About Reporting Car Accidents?

Drivers have obligations in the aftermath of a crash that occurs in California. When we turn to  California Vehicle Code section 20008, we can see that the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident must provide a written report to the California Highway Patrol or the police department in the city where the accident occurred within 24 hours if the incident resulted in any injuries or death.

In general, those involved in a car accident involving injuries or a fatality must call 911 immediately so that law enforcement officials and EMS can get to the scene of the crash. If police come to the scene of a crash, they will prepare the written report on behalf of their law enforcement agency, so the individuals involved will not have to make their own separate report.

But what happens if there is no police report? How can the parties involved obtain compensation?

The Incident Still Needs to be Reported

Even if it is uninvolved with an accident, drivers are still typically required to file a report with the California DMV. Any driver involved in a crash must report it to the DMV within 10 days if there are any injuries, if anyone was killed in the accident, or if there was property damage of more than $1,000.

When looking at this list, we can see that just about any vehicle accident will need to be reported because $1,000 and property damage is not that much. Incidents that caused injuries or fatalities will have already been reported to the police, and therefore must also be reported to the DMV.

Calling Your Insurance Carrier

Every vehicle insurance carrier requires that policyholders report the accident very soon after the incident occurs. The sooner your insurance carrier knows about an accident, the sooner they can get to work defending your claim and working to recover the compensation you need from the other party or parties involved. However, insurance carriers generally do need to see police reports in these cases, or, if there is not a police report, at least the DMV report.

Please understand that, even if a vehicle accident is considered a minor and did not rise to the level of a reportable accident in the state, you still need to let your auto insurance carrier know that the incident occurred. Even though you may receive some pushback for not reporting the incident to the police, it is still likely that you could receive some sort of coverage. Additionally, reporting the accident to your insurance carrier covers your bases if others involved in the vehicle accident decide to file a report with their insurance carrier. If you run into too much trouble, you can always contact a car accident attorney in San Bernardino to help you with your settlement.