How Long Do I Have to Report a Car Accident in California? By Sean Burke on November 15, 2019

Car accidentAuto accidents often result in significant losses for those involved. Potential damages include property damage, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages. A car accident attorney helps victims of collisions hold liable parties accountable for accident losses.

It is important that individuals work quickly when pursuing financial compensation for accident losses. States have their own statutes of limitations for reporting an accident and filing a personal injury lawsuit. Irvine, CA, attorney Sean M. Burke can provide clients with details regarding how long they have to report an accident in California.

Timeline for Reporting an Accident to Law Enforcement

Legally speaking, not all car accidents need to be reported to law enforcement. However, any accident that results in personal injury or death must be reported to the law enforcement department that oversees the city where the accident occurred.

If police are called to the site of an accident, any necessary police report will be filed by the responding officer. If an officer is not called to the scene of an accident, and injuries have occurred, then individuals involved in the collision must make a written report of the accident within 24 hours.

Reporting to the DMV

In addition to reporting an accident to local law enforcement, those involved in a collision may also need to report the accident to the DMV. Again, not all accidents need to be reported. However, accidents that result in death, personal injury, or property damage exceeding $750 do need to be reported. The California DMV asks that accidents be filed with their department within 10 days of the incident.

Filing with Your Insurance Company

As with most other states, California does not specify the amount of time that people have to file an accident with their insurance company. However, we advise our Irvine clients to report any accident as soon as possible to avoid being denied coverage. Every insurance company has the right to deny coverage if an accident is not reported in a “reasonable amount of time,” and it is up to the insurance company to determine what is considered reasonable. The earlier that an accident is reported, the more likely it is that the insurance company will accept the claim.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim

In the state of California, the statute of limitations dictates that a car accident victim has two years to file a personal injury claim to seek financial compensation for accident damages. The two-year deadline starts at the time of the accident. However, as with filing an insurance claim, it is always best to start working with an attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

As soon as clients begin working with attorney Sean M. Burke and our legal team, we can begin gathering necessary evidence, including witness statements. It is often much easier for our Irvine attorneys to recreate an accident and get evidence to demonstrate liability in the days and weeks immediately following the accident.

Contact Us

If you have been injured in a car accident, attorney Sean M. Burke can help you get the financial compensation you may be due for accident damages. To discuss the details of your case, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (949) 644-3434 to schedule a consultation.

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