When it's Necessary to File a Police Report After an Accident in California

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

When Should You File a Police Report After an Accident in California

Being involved in any accident is scary. If law enforcement was not called to the scene, you should file a police report after an accident in California, no matter how minor. Filing a report documents the incident and may help down the road should issues arise.

can be a frustrating and lengthy process.

  1. You need to figure out which law enforcement agency governs the area of the accident
  2. Figure out what forms to use
  3. Collect all the information needed
  4. Try to find out how or where to issue the report.

There is an easier way – use DoNotPay to file your police report.

Is It Necessary to File a Police Report for a California Accident?

While you do not have to report a fender bender in California, there are instances where, by law, you must report an accident. California law does require all drivers to stop when involved in an accident, no matter how minor.

If there was an injury or death, you must call local law enforcement. For an accident without injury, California law does not require you report an accident to law enforcement.

However, if someone suffers injuries, or if one of the vehicles has damages of more than $1,000, a report must be filed to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days. This applies whether the accident occurred on a public street or highway, or private property such as a parking lot. Failure to file a report may result in a driver's license suspension.

What Information Do You Need to File a Police Report for an Accident?

Unfortunately, the information you need and the process to file a police accident report in California can vary between one jurisdiction and another. California has more than 500 law enforcement agencies including the California Highway Patrol and other various statewide agencies along with 58 county sheriff departments and hundreds of city police departments.

Most agencies that deal with traffic and accidents have similar methods for reporting police reports for those accidents, but there can be subtle differences. Some agencies accept online minor traffic collision reports, others ask you to call them in.

For example, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) allows you to file a police report for minor traffic collisions, and hit-and-run accidents online. The following is criteria necessary to use the LAPD online report system for a minor traffic accident:

  1. The incident is not an emergency
  2. The incident occurred within city limits
  3. The person reporting must be at least 18 years old
  4. No one was injured in the accident
  5. The incident did occur on a city street and not on a state highway
  6. You must have internet access and a valid email address

To file, you’ll need:

  • Your car and driver's license information
  • The other driver's car and license information

The LAPD's online system is one of many police reporting systems. You need to remember that the LAPD is separate from Los Angeles County for which you need to contact the Los Angeles Sheriff's office.

There are many counties throughout California that have cities within their boundaries by the same name. For each, you need to decipher which department you need to reach for filing your police report following an accident.

Get rid of the confusion – use DoNotPay to file your police report after an accident in California!

How to Use DoNotPay to File Your California Police Report After an Accident

Need to file a California police report for a car accident but aren't sure which jurisdiction the accident occurred in? Want to file with one easy app rather than looking for which form to fill out to file online, or finding a phone number to call in the report? DoNotPay has it covered with three easy steps!

  1. Search "police report" on DoNotPay and select the type of incident you would like to report.
  2. Tell us more about the incident that occurred, including the location, date, time, and sequence of events. Include information on financial losses, personal injuries, or property damage that happened as a result.
  3. List any suspects or witnesses you are aware of, verify your contact information, and submit.

What Other Instances Can You File a Police Report for With DoNotPay?

DoNotPay can file almost any type of police report you may need. What else can we do?

Report a hit-and-run accidentReport a stolen package
Report scammers or other annoying phone callsReport a stolen mobile phone
Report identity theft, or an attempt thereofReport a stolen wallet
Report vandalismReport other stolen items

For almost any crime in California or anywhere else in the country that didn't need a call to 911 in the first place, you can report the incident with DoNotPay, simply and effortlessly.

Why Use DoNotPay to File Your Police Report After an Accident in California?

DoNotPay is not your only choice, but it is your best option for successfully filing a police report correctly!

DoNotPay is Fast!

You don't have to spend hours trying to find the right form and fill it out.

DoNotPay is Easy!

Just answer a couple of questions on the DoNotPay app, and you will be done.

DoNotPay is Successful!

DoNotPay knows what it is doing and gets your report filed correctly on the first try!

There Is More to DoNotPay Than Filing Police Reports

DoNotPay can help you and much more. What else can it do for you? DoNotPay will:

  • File small claims court documents
  • Increase your credit limit
  • File an insurance claim
  • Make a DMV appointment
  • Research sex offenders

While DoNotPay can't take your dog out for a walk, it can get him licensed! Take a few minutes to browse around the DoNotPay app and see the hours it can save you. Relax, DoNotPay has you covered!

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