Car & Truck Accidents

If you're involved in a traffic accident in California, you have a legal duty to adhere to in terms of letting the authorities know what happened. There are options for receiving compensation from the at-fault driver and laws in place to help you accomplish that goal.

What does California law say about reporting a car accident?

After you're in a car accident, you or a representative needs to file a report to the police or to the California Highway Patrol within 24 hours of when the accident happened. If anyone sustained injuries — including pedestrians, people riding bikes or motorcycles, drivers, passengers, etc. — the police must be notified. (See California Vehicle Code Section 20008 for more information.) However, if the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they'll write a report and, in that case, there is no need to notify them or to write your own report.

Should I report the accident to the DMV and my insurance company, too?

Yes, the DMV should be notified within 10 days of when the accident happened, but only if:

  • someone was injured, even if the injuries were minimal,
  • someone died as a result of the accident, and/or
  • the accident resulted in property damage estimated to cost over $750.

Were you injured in a car or truck accident?

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As for insurance, there aren't any laws per-say about reporting an accident to your insurance company — however, your terms of the agreement most likely include a clause about reporting accidents within a certain time frame. Don't be surprised if the insurance company doesn't play as nice as you'd expect. Their job is to meet their bottom line, even if that means attempting to bully you into a settlement of an amount that's less than what you deserve. Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind:

  1. Don't sign anything.
  2. Don't pretend to understand the technical language or complicated verbiage they may use.
  3. Get an attorney who can help you get full, fair compensation.

How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?

For personal injury, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. There is a statute of limitation of three years for property damage, which is completely separate.

What if I'm partially responsible for my personal injury?

Similar to most other states, California operates under what's known as a comparative negligence rule. This means that if the person who sustained the injuries is partially responsible, that percentage will be deducted from the reward. For example, if you're in a car accident and are rewarded $100,000 but the accident is 20% your fault, then $20,000 will be deducted from your reward and you'll receive $80,000 instead.

Glendale, California Car & Truck Accident Attorney

Being involved in a car or truck accident can be a very scary experience. Even the aftermath can impose negative mental and emotional effects on your life. If you were in a car or truck accident, you deserve to seek compensation. I can help. If you're in the Glendale, California area, call me today to schedule a free consultation.