California law does not always require you to call the police for a simple fender bender, but you might want to do so to protect yourself. If the police do not come and document what happened, the other driver might try to blame you for the collision.
So, if you are wondering if you should call the cops for a fender bender in California, the answer is probably yes. A California car accident lawyer can help you hold the other driver accountable if their negligence caused the accident.
When You Have to Call the Police After a Car Accident in California
You do not have an option on whether to call the police in California after a car accident if one of these factors was involved:
- One of the drivers fled from the scene of the accident; in other words, it was a hit-and-run accident.
- You have reason to suspect that one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- One of the drivers does not have a valid driver’s license.
- Someone got injured or killed in the accident. This rule includes pedestrians and bicyclists.
If any of these things were present in your automobile accident, California requires you to call the police to come to the scene, investigate, and write a report.
Reasons That You Might Want to Call the Police After a Collision
When there is no police report from an officer who came to the scene of the crash, it can often become a matter of one person’s word against another’s. A person wanting to get out of having to pay for property damage and personal injuries might make false accusations against you.
Here are some of the issues that a typical police report will cover that could be useful for you in proving your case for compensation against the negligent driver and defending yourself against unfair blame by the other driver:
- Causation. The police report will often specify who the officer thought caused the accident and what the causative factor was. For example, the report might state that driver number one caused the accident by running a red light.
- Citations. The officer might issue a ticket to a driver that is relevant to fault. An example of a citation that could directly affect your accident claim is if the officer cited the other driver for speeding. The citation will also give the estimated speed the driver was traveling at the time of the offense.
- Damage to the vehicles. The police report will have a diagram of each vehicle. The officer will draw the location of any damage sustained during the collision on the diagrams. If the other driver later gets into another crash and tries to make you pay for that property damage, the police report will help you defend against that fraudulent claim.
- Injuries. The officer will ask each party involved in the crash whether they have any injuries. The officer will note any complaints of pain or other injuries and will note any visible wounds.
The police report will contain much more detail than these few topics. Depending on the facts of your case, information about the weather conditions, road conditions, and time of day could prove useful in your situation. A California personal injury attorney can answer your questions about getting a police report and help you pursue your injury claim against the at-fault driver. Reach out to our office today for help with your case.