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Mandatory Reporting Of Accident To Law Enforcement And DMV- Increase in Property Damage Minimum Effective 1/1/2017

In California, pursuant to California Vehicle Code section 20008, any driver of a vehicle (or their representative) that is involved in a auto accident which results in injuries or death of any other person (other than himself or herself and whether it is a driver, passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist) is mandated to make a written report of the accident to the police department in which the accident occurred or to the California Highway Patrol within 24 hours.  Further, the driver is required to give their name, current residence address, the names and current residence addresses of any occupant of the driver’s vehicle injured in the accident, the registration number of the vehicle they were driving, and the name and current residence address of the owner to the person struck or the driver or occupants of any vehicle collided with, along with their insurance information.

Failure to stop and exchange information, as required, could result imprisonment in the state prison, or in a county jail for not more than one year, or by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000) nor more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both that imprisonment and fine.  The penalties are greater if there was serious injury or death. The penalties are fully set forth in California Vehicle Code 20001

Further reporting needs to be done to California Department of Motor Vehicles within 10 days by filing a Traffic Accident Report SR1 if:

  • anyone involved in the accident was injured (however slightly)
  • anyone was killed in the accident, and/or
  • the crash resulted in property damage (meaning damage to a vehicle or real property) of more than $1,000.00 (effective 1/1/2917- amount was $750.00 prior to that).

If you cause property damage only to a vehicle or property of another, you are required to immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location that will not impede traffic and if it can be done so safely.  You must then locate and notify the owner or person in charge of that property of the name and address of the driver and owner of the vehicle involved and  upon request, present them with your driver’s license, vehicle registration and insurance information.

If you are unable to locate the owner or other person in charge of the other vehicle or property, you are required to leave in a conspicuous place on the vehicle or other property damaged a written notice of the name and address of the driver and of the owner of the vehicle involved and a statement of the circumstances and then, without unnecessary delay, notify the local police department or California Highway Patrol. This is required by California Vehicle Code 20002 and failure to do so can be considered HIT and RUN!

Should you find yourself involved in a situation of hit and run, contact the Law Office of Jeffrey D. Stearman for legal assistance.