If you’re involved in a collision on California roads, an officer who responds to the scene will complete an official Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California. This document will contain details about your crash that could prove crucial when you file a claim with your insurance company.
According to California Vehicle Code § 16000, an accident report must be filed within ten days to the DMV if any of the following occurred as a result of your crash:
Even if your crash was minor enough not to meet these parameters, it’s always in your best interest to contact law enforcement after a collision.
The official Report of Traffic Accident in California contains four sections wherein the officer will document all pertinent information gathered at the scene. These sections include:
The first section of the report is where the officer lists all basic information pertaining to the reporting party and the accident itself, such as:
The second section includes all of the same information provided in the first but for any other individuals involved in the collision.
The final section of the report is where the officer documents information regarding your insurance policy, such as:
The insurance company will use the information provided in your accident report to investigate the crash. The adjuster will consider fault, causation, and other aspects of the collision while determining the settlement you receive. They will also adjust your rates accordingly.
You can recover your accident report from the California DMV or the California Highway Patrol (CHP) by paying a processing fee of $10.00 for the first 25 pages. If you’d rather not pay or wait at the DMV, you can get a completely FREE copy of your official crash report right here, without leaving the comfort of your home!
In short, no. You don’t need an accident report to file a claim with the insurance company, but it’s a good idea. Having the document in hand when you begin your claim could speed up the process and benefit your claim in many ways.
Driving uninsured is never a good idea. If you’re caught driving without insurance in the state of California, you could face fines of up to $500. You could also be held accountable for the cost of any damages or injuries sustained in the crash.