April 22

How to Report an Auto Accident

Have You Been in an Auto Accident? 

Car accidents can be jarring. They can leave you stunned, confused, and frantic. What now? Do you call law enforcement or your insurance company first? Should you call either at all? What if you just exchange insurance information instead? Even after you leave the scene, you may feel utterly perplexed. Let our knowledgeable and experienced Pasadena, CA car accident attorneys walk you through what to do from beginning to end.

What Should I Do While at the Scene of the Accident?

In the event of an accident, first and foremost, ensure the safety of those involved. Evaluate injuries to yourself and others and call for medical help if necessary. You should also call the police to ensure accurate reporting, as it may be needed in the event you pursue a claim.

While waiting for emergency personnel or if emergency personnel are determined to be unnecessary, exchange information with the other driver(s) at the scene.

You will want to exchange the following information:

  • Full name
  • Address and phone number
  • Take a photograph of their driver’s license 
  • License plate number
  • Auto insurance company name and policy number 

It can be helpful to make notes of the other drivers’ appearances, make, model, and color of their vehicles, and any notes you may need about the accident. 

While on the scene of an accident, it is beneficial to take photos of the entire accident scene including the vehicles and any injuries sustained. You should also take photos of the other party’s driver’s license, insurance information, and registration. 

How to File an Accident Report 

Gather the following information/documents:

  • Your driver’s license or identification (DL/ID) card
  • Your vehicle’s license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Your vehicle’s insurance information
  • Other party’s vehicle and insurance information, if applicable

California law requires the reporting of all car accidents on streets and highways that result in bodily injury, death, or property damage exceeding $750. If you have been involved in a car accident, you are legally obligated to obtain, complete, and submit Form SR-1 to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If you do not submit Form SR-1 within 10 days of your accident, you may be required to pay monetary fines and may be prohibited from recovering the compensation you need.

You can get an online Form SR-1 from the California DMV (found here)

Why Should I Report a Car Accident in CA?

Here are our top reasons:

  • Ensuring compliance in the state of CA
  • Gathering of evidence from a third party that could help you in a legal battle
  • Filing a claim with an auto insurance company
  • Gathering of evidence from a third party that could help you in a legal battle    

Filing a police report can also act as a third-party collection of evidence. The reporting officer will collect contact information and statements from each involved party but also take down information that might be missed by the average civilian. Evidence like weather, skid marks, traffic patterns, witness statements, and if anyone is under the influence of alcohol or drugs could easily be overlooked by someone who is not trained in how to handle an auto accident.

When Should You Report the Incident in California?

Immediately, is our answer but according to CA law, you must file as soon as possible if there is an injury or death and to the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if there is $750 in property damage of any kind.

Obtaining a written police report is beneficial as the recollection of the events is still at the forefront of the mind and ensures all parties comply. 

How to Get a Police Report for a Car Accident in Pasadena, CA 

A public records request for information from the Pasadena Police Department can be started by contacting the Pasadena Police Department Records Administrator at (626) 744–4555 or online.

You will want to include the following information to ensure the scope of the request is understood and clear enough for personnel to determine if they have the records you are requesting.

  • The date(s) of the record
  • The subject of the record
  • A clear and specific description of the record
  • Any additional information that helps staff identify the record
  • Your complete contact information, so that they may notify you when your request is available

10 days may be needed for producing records. These 10 days allow the agency to review records if it is not clear that they are public records. As soon as a determination is made, it will be at that time the records shall be released. A car accident attorney in Pasadena, CA can assist you with obtaining these documents.

Contact Grigoryan Blum & Grigoryan Injury Attorneys Today

Schedule a free consultation with Grigoryan Blum & Grigoryan to receive guidance on how to move forward with your situation. Our experienced auto accident attorneys work on contingency fees, which means that we do not require a retainer fee or an hourly rate. Your personal injury lawyer will pay all costs upfront and deduct them from the total amount you receive when we win your case. We make your fight, our fight!

Click here for our complete guide to hiring a Pasadena car accident lawyer.

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Ivy Grigoryan and Tigran Grigoryan


Auto Accidents

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Grigoryan Blum & Grigoryan
30 North Raymond Avenue, Suite #514
Pasadena, CA 91103
United States