How to Report a Car Accident in California

How to Report a Car Accident in California

California Car Accident

You may be facing a stack of paperwork after a California car accident. The good news is an attorney from eAccidents @ 844-400-0123 can help you figure out what forms you need and guide you through completing them so that you can file them on time.

Whether you had a significant car accident or a minor fender bender, in California there are specific forms that you will need to file after a car accident. Depending on the nature of your California car accident, you may need to complete Form SR-1 and file it with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).


What is Form SR-1?

Under California Vehicle Code §16000, motorists are required to report any traffic accident that resulted in more than $1000 in property damage, bodily injury, or death by filing Form SR-1 with the DMV. This form must be filed within 10 days from the date of the accident.

Form SR-1 applies to any traffic accident that happened on a California street or highway, as well as, any traffic accident that happened off a street or highway and that meets the following criteria:

  1. Happened off a California street or highway; 
  2. Involved a vehicle that is subject to registration under state law; and
  3. Resulted in more than $1000 in property damage, bodily injury, or death. 

Getting Started with Form SR-1

To get started, you can file or download Form SR-1 from the DMV website here. Then you should gather the following:

  • Your driver’s license;
  • Your insurance information; and
  • Your vehicle registration

It will also be helpful if you have a copy of the police report made at the scene of the accident. If you were not able to collect information from the other parties involved at the scene of the accident, you should be able to find their information in the copy of the police report.

Information Required for Form SR-1

To complete Form SR-1, you will be required to submit the date and time of the accident and the city, county, and specific location where the accident occurred. Then for every driver involved in the accident, you must submit the following information:

  • Their full name, date of birth, and address;
  • Their driver’s license number; 
  • The make and model of their vehicle; and  
  • Their license plate number or the VIN of their vehicle. 

Insurance Information Required 

In California, all motorists must carry the statutory minimum amount of automobile insurance coverage on every registered vehicle that they own. Form SR-1 requires you to submit this insurance information for each driver involved in the accident, including:

  • Their insurance provider; 
  • Their policy number; 
  • The period of coverage; 
  • The policyholder’s name; and 
  • Whether their insurance coverage was current and valid at the time of the accident. 

Information Regarding Property Damage, Injuries, and Deaths 

To complete Form SR-1 you will also be required to list information regarding accident-related property damage, injuries, and deaths concerning anyone involved in the accident. This information must include: 

  • The victims’ names and addresses; 
  • The type of harm the victims suffered i.e., property damage, bodily injury, or death;
  • A description of the damage to the victims’ vehicles, as well as, the value of that damage; and 
  • How the victims were involved in the accident i.e., as a driver, passenger, pedestrian, or bicyclist. 

Filing Form SR-1

Once you have completed Form SR-1 to the best of your ability, it is best to read over it once more. Double-check your answers and make sure to sign and date the form. Then, you can file the form yourself, or request that eAccidents or your insurance provider file it for you. Either way, make sure to make a copy of the form before it is filed with DMV.

What Happens If You Fail to File Form SR-1?

Under California Vehicle Code §16004, if you fail to file form SR-1 to the DMV within 10 days of the date of a qualifying accident, you can be fined and the state can suspend your driver’s license. You may also be barred from seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses.

Moreover, if you were involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist and need to file Form SR-19C for an uninsured motorist claim, you will be unable to do so until you have filed Form SR-1 with the DMV. 

How an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney Can Help 

Form SR-1 must be completed accurately and honestly to the best of your knowledge, or you may suffer serious legal consequences. But, Form SR-1 is only one of the many documents and notices you may need to file shortly after a California car accident.

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