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Guide to Filing Out an DMV SR-1 Form After a California Car Accident

After a traffic accident on a California road, victims will have a lot to sort out in the coming days. Unfortunately, those hurt in accidents aren’t always given time to focus on recovery. There’s the battle with insurance companies to earn support to pay for medical care. There’s also the effort to get damaged vehicles replaced or in the shop for repairs.

These tasks can be overwhelming, but victims can’t forget their duty to the DMV in reporting accidents that reach a certain level of expense or injury. Victims should be informed about the requirement to fill out an SR-1 form, when to fill it out, and what can happen if they don’t.

Contact a Real California Lawyer for a Free Consultation

After an accident involving more than just a few bumps and bruises and property damage, it’s vital to talk to a California Car Accident Lawyer as soon as possible. When your collision involves a serious injury, insurance companies will fight all the harder to avoid taking the blame for their policyholder’s mistake and providing support to you.

Contacting Maison Law of California for a free, no-obligation consultation gives you the opportunity to learn how much your injury is worth. You’ll also learn about certain deadlines that apply to your case and some of the forms you’ll need to complete to have the best chance to earn compensation.

If you decide you’d like our skilled attorneys to represent your case, you won’t need any money. We don’t get paid unless we win your case and secure compensation for you and your family.

Reporting an Accident to the California DMV

You’ll want to alert your auto insurance agent as soon after a collision as possible. Then it’s important to notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in the days that follow. THE INVESTIGATING POLICE OFFICER OR CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL OFFICER WILL NOT FILE YOUR ACCIDENT WITH THE DMV FOR YOU.

You are given 10 days to report your accident by filling out what’s known as an SR-1 form. You must file when the crash totals at least $1000 in property damage to one person, including yourself. If anyone is injured, even slightly, a report must be filed with the DMV.

The Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California (SR-1) form is available online. The SR-1 can also be picked up at any DMV field office or CHP office. The California DMV website details the requirements further.

Who Can Fill Out the SR1 Collision Form After a California Accident?

You are ultimately responsible for making sure California’s SR-1 form is accurately filled out and submitted to the DMV. However, you could rely on others to take care of this form for you.

 

This is a list of the other parties who may help you complete this form:

  • The accident victim or a family member fills it out.
  • The victim’s car insurance representative fills it out. Many auto insurance companies report accidents to the DMV and fill out the SR-1 form for their policyholders. Not all insurance carriers perform this task. It’s important to make sure they are taking care of it so you don’t face a penalty when the deadline is missed.
  • The California car accident attorney for a client. This is only possible when the attorney is notified immediately about the accident and is retained within a few days of the collision. You could turn your case over to a personal injury lawyer after the 10-day deadline is up. In this case, you’d have to take care of the SR-1 yourself.

What Happens if I Miss the DMV SR1 Form Deadline?

The penalties for not filing out an SR-1 form are laid out in California Vehicle Code §16004. The code allows the state to suspend your driver’s license and take other actions against your driving privileges. If you didn’t report an accident due to criminal intent you can face fines and even go to jail.

The biggest threat to you if you don’t promptly complete an SR-1 is the inability to file a claim over your injuries. You won’t be able to file a lawsuit against an at-fault driver’s insurance provider until you complete an SR-1.

Reporting an Accident to California Police

In most California accidents, a police officer or a CHP officer is one of the first people on the scene.  However, in the rare case that an officer doesn’t come out to the scene of your accident, you may be required to file an accident report with law enforcement.

When an officer isn’t on the scene of an accident involving an injury or death, a written report is required to be submitted within 24-hours. It’s a good idea to call the nearest police station or CHP office and report what happened and find out how to submit your report.

It’ll be up to you or a family member to make this report. Your insurance carrier or your California car accident lawyer likely won’t be able to help you with this task.

What to Do on the Scene of a California Traffic Accident

While making these reports on time is an important duty, there are other tasks you should complete. There are things you can do to back up your case when it comes time to ask for financial support over an injury. You’ll want as much evidence as you can gather when filing a claim with an at-fault driver’s insurance company.

The most convincing evidence will come directly from the scene after an accident. If you are physically strong enough you should try to collect these details in the moments after your collision:

  • Tell responding officers everything you can remember about what happened. Have paramedics check out every pain you are experiencing.
  • Take pictures with your cellphone. Document the scene. Show the car that hit you, damage to your car, and traffic signs. Take photos of any injuries that are visible and any damage to clothing.
  • Ask witnesses for contact information.
  • Exchange information with everyone involved but don’t make any statements about the fault in the accident or how serious your injuries are. Insurance companies can use these statements against you later.
  • See your own doctor. Get every injury documented. Do everything the doctor recommends and see any specialists suggested. Keep your medical invoices.
  • Keep any damaged clothing and personal items. Don’t throw evidence out.

Contact a California Car Accident Lawyer

There’s another deadline you’ll need to keep on your calendar. California law allows victims to file an injury claim up to two years after the date of the accident.

This seems like a long time, but you’ll want to begin working on your claim as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for your California Traffic Accident Lawyer to find evidence. They may have a difficult time securing documents and locating witnesses as they investigate your case for you.

Reach out to Martin Gasparian, the founder of Maison Law, to find out how to protect your interests after a serious injury. He fights to make sure families receive the compensation they need to rebuild their lives after an accident.

Contact Maison Law for an absolutely free, no-risk case evaluation. Even if you don’t end up needing our help to secure an insurance settlement, you’ll still receive valuable information on how to hold insurance companies fully liable for your recovery and damages.

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