Why should I file a police report after an accident in California?


Being involved in a collision can be a distressing and overwhelming experience. In the immediate aftermath, you will likely still be shell-shocked by the traumatic event that has just unfolded. With your mind racing and adrenaline coursing through your body, remaining calm and remembering the appropriate steps to safeguard your legal rights can be challenging. However, it’s crucial to assess the situation and consider your actions carefully, as they can impact your ability to recover monetary compensation for your damages. While it’s not always mandatory to involve the police in the event of an accident, there are several advantages to contacting the authorities, such as creating a police report that provides accurate details about the crash that can help determine liability. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, please don’t hesitate to contact our skilled Santa Clara County Car Accident Attorneys, who can fight for you today. Please continue reading to learn the importance of filing a police report after an auto accident in California. 

Do I have to report an auto accident in California?

In California, if you’re involved in a collision, you must report it within ten days if someone is injured, killed, or property damage is over $1,000. It’s imperative to understand that this is required whether you caused the collision or not. You must report the crash by completing a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR-1). Your driving privileges will be suspended if you fail to report the accident.

What will a police report provide?

For the most part, a police report will be the first piece of evidence for your claim. A police report is an official document that the investigating Officer of an accident completes. When an officer arrives at the accident scene, they will compile details about the crash. The police report will provide the following information:

  • The date, time, and location of the accident
  • The contact and insurance information of all parties involved
  • Vehicles involved, license plate numbers, and damage inflicted
  • Statements from both parties and any eyewitnesses
  • Description of the weather, lighting, and other road conditions that could have contributed to the cause of the accident
  • Diagram of the accident
  • A fault determination made by the investigating Officer
  • The Officer’s observations and impressions
  • Any violations or citations of law

As you can see, a police report will contain the facts of an accident that can potentially support your claim. Therefore, it’s best always to contact the police after an accident.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please don’t hesitate to contact a determined attorney from the Law Offices of Brian J. O’Grady, who can help you fight to attain the just compensation you deserve.