When Should You Report a Hit-And-Run in California?

All car accidents are nerve rattling events, but a hit-and-run car accident can be completely unnerving. After being involved in a hit-and-run, you may feel a sense of panic about what to do next. It may be difficult to know which steps to take first. 

One of the most important actions you should take after a hit-and-run is to report the incident to the police immediately. You may also need to notify the California DMV and your insurance company under certain circumstances. 

Understanding the time frames to report a hit-and-run and your legal obligations to disclose the incident may alleviate some stress surrounding the situation. Our car accident lawyers at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. can help. We are here to protect your legal rights and help you better understand what steps you should take after a hit-and-run to ensure your right to file a claim for financial recovery. 

What are the California Accident Reporting Laws? 

California drivers should know about the state’s accident reporting laws, as it will make the aftermath of the accident easier. California’s primary accident reporting laws include the following:

  • CVC §20008: This is the primary reporting requirement law in California. If an accident results in an injury or death, you must report it to the California Highway Patrol or local police in 24 hours. A police officer will file a report for you if they respond to the accident.
  • CVC §20010: If the vehicle’s driver cannot file a report, another passenger is responsible for reporting the accident.
  • CVC §16000: If an accident results in damages $1,000 dollars, injuries, or death, you must report the incident to the DMV within ten days.
  • CVC §16002: If you were driving a company vehicle during the accident, you must report it within five days.

We also encourage you to read your insurance company’s policy on reporting a hit-and-run to them. While California law does not require you to report the accident to your insurance company, your policy might require a report. Knowing your insurance policy will help you decide who to contact after the incident.

How to Report a Hit-and-Run in California

Now that you know when to report a hit-and-run and how much time you have to do so, you may wonder how to actually file a report with the police or DMV, if needed. If you call 911 and a responder comes, they will file your report for you. In a case where a responder does not arrive, you can call California Highway Patrol or the local police department to file your report. 

If damages from the accident exceed $1,000, you will also have to report it to the DMV. You can do this yourself by filling out this form on the DMV’s website. Alternatively, your insurance company may file the DMV report for you if you decide to report to them first.

We always recommend doing your own due diligence in making sure your accident was reported correctly. Don’t assume someone else has completed this task. If your insurance company tells you they reported it to the DMV, request that they email you confirmation so that you have your own record of it.

Speak to an Experienced California Car Accident Lawyer at Eric Ratinoff Law Corp. 

The aftermath of a hit-and-run can feel overwhelming. Knowing how to file a report and how much time you have to do so can make the process less stressful. If you are unsure of the legal requirements of reporting an accident or need help sorting through all the information, our skilled legal team is here to help you.

At Eric Ratinoff Law Corp., we may be able to assist you in getting started with your hit-and-run claim and help you decide what to do first. We also work with insurance companies, so you don’t have to go through this process alone. We will fight for you and ensure all details and information are accounted for so your report is submitted to all the required parties within the appropriate timeframes. To speak with our seasoned car accident lawyers, call (916) 970-9100 or fill out our contact form for a complimentary consultation.